The Nets are going on a little over three weeks without a win as they return to Barclays Center on Tuesday to host the Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m.). It has been a rocky road for Brooklyn since then and they’ve quickly fallen to seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Tuesday also marks the final game before the NBA Trade Deadline and should quell some of the ongoing speculation about James Harden’s happiness with the organization. The Nets’ superstar could become a free agent at the end of the season, so the narrative won’t entirely disappear.
On the court, the Nets have struggled to play well on both ends of the floor, failing to contain teams from scoring while having their own offense dry up at inopportune times. The Nets scored 75 points in the first half against Denver on Sunday, but scored just 13 in the third quarter and 16 in the fourth.
That has been a persistent problem for the Nets during the course of their eight-game losing streak, the longest active streak of its kind in the NBA.
“These guys just have to show this resolve,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “That’s the opportunity here, win, lose or draw to show the resolve. Keep pushing to stay together. We have a choice every day to stay together and try to pick your teammate up. Try to bring that energy and not let it affect us negatively.”
Brooklyn will not have Harden on the floor, marking the third straight game he has missed due to tightness in his hamstring. He was listed as questionable, but told reporters at the morning shootaround on Tuesday that he would not play.
James Harden says he’s not playing tonight vs. Celtics. This will be the third straight game he’s missed due to hamstring tightness.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) February 8, 2022
Harden’s absence has only fueled the rumors that he has been unhappy in Brooklyn with the losses piling up, Kyrie Irving’s part-time status and his overall lifestyle in Kings County. The team has said that he is committed to winning in Brooklyn.
“The few conversations that we’ve had, he’s been really committed, and we just hold him to his word,” said Irving, who will not play against Boston because of his vaccine status. “Obviously, when we’re going out to play games we can’t even really think about it, so we would love to have him in the lineup, at his optimum healthy version of himself.”
Nic Claxton was also downgraded on Tuesday and will miss the Nets meeting with the Celtics. Claxton has also been dealing with tightness in his hamstring.
The Celtics come to Brooklyn red hot off a blowout win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday. They’ve won five straight games and have been victorious in seven of their last eight contests.
The Nets did win an earlier meeting this season against Boston at TD Garden, 123-104.
The Nets have the best conference-winning percentage in the East. They are also the only team in the East to not lose double-digit games within the conference. … Brooklyn is shooting a league-best .486 FG % from midrange this season, ranking second in midrange FGM/game (7.5) and third in midrange FGA/game (15.3). … DeAndre’ Bembry is shooting a career-best .455 3FG % this season (15-of-33) and a career-best .587 FG % (previous high: .513 last season).
Nets Injury Report
- Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) — Out
- James Harden (left hamstring tightness) — Out
- LaMarcus Aldridge (left ankle sprain) — Out
- Kevin Durant (left knee MCL sprain) — Out
- Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
- Paul Millsap (personal reasons) — Out
- Kyrie Irving — Out
Celtics Injury Report
- Bol Bol (right foot surgery) — Out
- P.J. Dozier (left ACL surgery) — Out
- Sam Hauser (G League – two-way) — Out
- Brodric Thomas (G League – two-way) — Out
How To Watch
YES Network will broadcast Tuesday game locally with Ryan Ruocco, Sarah Kustok and Michael Grady will be on the call. TNT will carry the game nationally, with Brian Anderson, Stan Van Gundy and Chris Haynes. Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw will be the voices heard on the radio broadcast on WFAN 101.9 FM / 660 AM.