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James Harden will play on Christmas Day vs. Lakers

Brooklyn will have at least one superstar for its matchup in Los Angeles.

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts to a play during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on December 10, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Update, Dec. 24 — Harden will play on Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Lakers, per coach Steve Nash. This is great news for basketball fans looking to watch hoops on X-Mas. Harden will be back and give us a bit more star power on Saturday night. We’re still awaiting word on Kevin Durant, however. The Nets did clear DeAndre’ Bembry to return for the game.

Brooklyn Nets All-Star James Harden has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Friday. PG Jevon Carter and PF Paul Millsap were also able to clear protocols, the issue is the Nets had to place three players into protocols. David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards and Cam Thomas all landed on the list. The Nets face the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day after their game Thursday was postponed due to having not enough players.

We’ve got a few days before X-Mas and there’s the likelihood that the Nets will get more players back from protocols. There’s also a chance more players head to the list, though not playing any games may help that a bit. The issue could come down to the Holidays and players going to see their families and traveling without taking proper precautions. If that’s the case, we should see more and more players head to protocols after the weekend.

Harden being back is a small win for the NBA, which refuses to pause the season. Commissioner Adam Silver said he couldn’t find logic around pausing the season despite surging cases of COVID-19. Money talks. We could see things change after Christmas Day, considering there’s a ton invested in that slate each year. We’ll see if Kevin Durant is the next Nets superstar to come off the list for X-Mas.