The Brooklyn Nets will face a shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers team Monday night: the Trail Blazers will not fly LaMarcus Aldridge (left thumb sprain), Nicolas Batum (lower back sprain), or Chris Kaman (right thumb sprain) to Brooklyn when the two teams face off, the team announced Sunday. They’re already without starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews (torn Achilles) and backup Dorrell Wright (broken hand), bringing the number of active players the Trail Blazers will bring to Brooklyn to 10 — at most.
The game is a makeup date for the two teams, who were originally scheduled to play January 26th before the game was postponed by a blizzard.
It makes sense for Portland to rest their players: they’re traveling across the country for one game, only to travel right back the next day, and they’ve already clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs by winning the Northwest Division. It’s an advantage for Brooklyn: Aldridge, who has pushed back his surgery after suffering the injury in January, is the Blazers’ leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 23.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in 35.6 minutes per game.
The Nets are only expected to be without one player: backup guard Alan Anderson, who sprained his ankle Friday night. He might’ve only brought them down: the Michigan State alum, who’d screamed “SPARTAN!” at any chance possible in the week preceding the Final Four, watched the Spartans lose Saturday to Duke 81-61.