October 26, 2018 / 1:11 AM / 9 months ago

NBA notebook: Harden (hamstring) out for two games

Houston Rockets guard James Harden will miss at least two games with a hamstring strain, the team announced Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Oct 24, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) leaves the court and walks toward the locker room with time left in the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

An MRI showed Harden has a Grade 1-plus left hamstring strain. He will miss home games against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated before the Rockets leave for a five-game road trip that begins Nov. 2 in Brooklyn.

Harden, the reigning league MVP, sustained the injury Wednesday in a 100-89 loss to the Utah Jazz and left the game midway through the fourth quarter with hamstring tightness. He scored 29 points. Last season, he missed seven games with a Grade 2 hamstring strain in the same leg.

Through four games this season, the 29-year-old Harden is averaging 28.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 36.0 minutes per game.

—The Rockets’ latest trade offer to the Minnesota Timberwolves for All-Star guard Jimmy Butler includes four future first-round draft picks, ESPN reported.

Pairing Butler, a four-time All-Star, with All-NBA guards Harden and Chris Paul certainly would boost the Rockets’ pursuit of a championship.

Butler, 29, has averaged 24.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.8 steals through four games this season. He requested a trade during the preseason and has told Minnesota he plans to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

—Bobby Portis will miss up to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, adding to a long list of limping Chicago Bulls.

Portis was diagnosed with a sprained MCL. He left Wednesday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Portis joins the brigade of Bulls on the sideline that includes starters Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn and backup guard Denzel Valentine.

—Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors will face the New York Knicks on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, where the fans have a very big greeting in store for him.

A billboard showing a cartoon Durant wearing a blue Knicks jersey has gone up near the arena. He’s standing next to Kristaps Porzingis and holding the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The caption reads: “Can you make NY sports great again?”

—Field Level Media

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