It’s not often that an NBA club has to trek across the country for the second game of a back-to-back, but the Brooklyn Nets are just that lucking. The Nets will face the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday (10 p.m.) after defeating the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn.
The game was shoehorned into the schedule after it had to be postponed due to COVID from its original December date.
The Nets snapped a five-game home losing streak on Sunday with an overtime win over the Spurs. It was the heroics of rookie Cam Thomas that sealed the win with a game-winning shot with 1.4 seconds left on the clock.
Brooklyn is looking to extend its league-best 14-3 record on the road, but head coach Steve Nash will have to do so while not overextending some of his players’ minutes. Despite both James Harden and Kevin Durant playing over 40 minutes on Sunday, both will play on Monday against the Trail Blazers.
To help lift some of the burdens, the door appeared to be open for Kyrie Irving, who will play in just his second game of the season for the Nets, to see an increase in playing time. Irving played 32 minutes against the Indiana Pacers last week in his first game back of the season.
“We’ll see. Typically, with a game under his belt, he can play a little more tomorrow. That’s definitely possible,” Nets coach Steve Nash said on Sunday.
Brooklyn’s bizarre road trip will take them to Portland on Monday and then Chicago on Wednesday before returning to the Barclays Center on Thursday for a meeting with Oklahoma City. The games consecutively on the road is a chance for Durant and the rest of his teammates to build back some of the chemistry with Irving.
“We’re definitely a better team, a way better team (with Irving),” Durant said on Sunday. “He’s definitely going to give us a lift. So I’m looking forward to it. A couple of games on the road, an opportunity for us to build our chemistry. So I’m looking forward to it.”
The Nets won’t be the only team entering Monday’s game on a positive note or after having to play the day before. The Trail Blazers defeated the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, 103-88. Anfernee Simons put up 31 points for the win in just Portland’s third win in their last 13 home games.
The Trail Blazers also allowed their fewest points against of the year and snapped a 16-game streak of allowing at least 100 points to an opponent. Portland has been without two of their best players in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Over its last 10 games, Brooklyn has been averaging 113.4 points, 47.1 rebounds, 25.9 assists, 7.7 steals and 6.6 blocks per game while shooting 47.6% from the field. … Kevin Durant is in the middle of an a run that has seen him score 20-plus points in 18 consecutive games. That is tied for second for longest single-season streaks of 20-point games in Nets NBA history. … The Nets are 14-1 in road games this season that wasn’t the second game of a back-to-back.
Nets Injury Report
- Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
- LaMarcus Aldridge (right foot soreness) — Out
- James Harden (left knee hyperextension) — Out
Trail Blazers Injury Report
- Damion Lillard (lower abdominal tendinopathy) — Out
- CJ McCollum (right lung pneumothorax) — Out
- Larry Nance Jr. (right knee inflammation) — Out
- Norman Powell (Health and safety protocols) — Out
How to Watch
Monday’s game will air on YES Network with Ian Eagle, Sarah Kustok, and Michael Grady on the broadcast. Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw will have the call on the radio on 101.9 FM WFAN.