The Brooklyn Nets wrapped up their three-game west coast trip with a shorthanded loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, and return home tonight to face the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers finished last year on a 13-game losing streak, stumbling to the finish line with a disappointing 33-49 record.
Though the Nets beat the lottery-bound Trail Blazers in both meetings last season, they're a bit different this year. The Blazers have shot out to an 8-2 start and are riding a six-game winning streak led by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds in 36.7 minutes per game, 51.2% true shooting percentage) and point guard & reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard (19.6 points, 5.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds in 36.7 minutes per game, 54.8% true shooting percentage). Add in Wesley Matthews, who's shooting a scorching 50% on three-pointers on nearly five three-pointers per game, and the Blazers have produced the third-best offense in this still-young season.
That comes with a caveat: they've only beaten two teams with records over .500. But then again, the Nets aren't above .500 either.
Some brief notes on tonight's game:
- The Nets will not hold shootaround this morning, and have not provided an official injury report for tonight yet. We may not know the official status of Brook Lopez (ankle), Deron Williams (ankle), Kevin Garnett (ankle), and Paul Pierce (groin) until Kidd speaks with the media at 5:30, or who we see warming up beforehand.
- If Lopez does play, it'll be the eighth matchup between him and twin brother Robin Lopez. Robin's team has a 4-3 edge, but Brook did this, rendering all records invalid.
- The Blazers selected guard C.J. McCollum with the tenth overall pick in the NBA Draft, but McCollum has yet to suit up after right foot surgery.
- The Nets haven't lost to the Trail Blazers at home since February 23rd, 2010, the year they went 12-70.