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Nets' Harden set for return to Houston

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The COVID-19 pandemic will mute the response of Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden returning to Houston on Wednesday for the first time since he was traded, in ways likely good and bad.

With just 4,500 fans expected at Toyota Center, the number of boos and cheers won't come close to approaching the level that would have greeted Harden had a full house been on hand to welcome back the 2017-18 NBA Most Valuable Player.

Harden averaged 29.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists, won three scoring titles and once led the league in assists while making the All-Star team in each of his eight full seasons with the Rockets. The split was unceremonious, with Harden accused of lackluster effort prior to forcing the organization to finally jettison him to Brooklyn in mid-January.

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