Brooklyn Nets (32-32) vs. Boston Celtics (38-27)
Sunday, March 6 @ TD Garden
How to Watch/Listen:
1:00 p.m. ET on ABC and WFAN 101.9 FM / 660 AM.
The Nets got Kevin Durant back in the lineup on Thursday and now Kyrie Irving is back for Brooklyn’s next three games beginning on Sunday in Boston. Irving is still only eligible to play on the road due to New York City’s private sector mandate that requires employees of city-based businesses to be vaccinated.
Irving and Durant have not been on the floor together since the Nets’ dominating performance over the Chicago Bulls back on Jan. 12, in one of the few times Durant, Irving and James Harden all played with one another. The Nets will need another strong effort out of their star guard after they dropped their third straight game on Thursday.
Considering Durant and Irving’s limited time on the floor together this season, Sunday’s meeting in Boston will serve two purposes. The Nets need a win in the worst way and it will be a chance for the two Brooklyn superstars to try to build some chemistry.
Both Durant and Irving had star-like efforts in their last games for Brooklyn. In his return from an MCL sprain, Durant put up 31 points in 35 minutes of work in a rough loss to the Miami Heat at the Barclays Center last week.
Irving helped lead the Nets to a win over the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks last Saturday with a 38 point performance.
Brooklyn will need more of that going forward with the team down to only 17 games left on the schedule after Sunday. That makes every chance the Nets can field a complete team an even more significant moment.
“It’s going to be a work in progress, for sure, getting everybody up to speed, playing together,” acting head coach Jacque Vaughn said. “It’s a puzzle that we’re going to have to figure out together and do it in a timely fashion, so (it’s) a great challenge.”
The Celtics have been on a tear in recent weeks and will be coming off an impressive 13 point win over Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. They’ve shot up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference and have lost just two games dating back to the start of February.
The Celtics’ current stretch also includes a pair of wins over Brooklyn on Feb. 8 (126-91) and Feb. 24 (129-106). The Nets’ only victory this year against Boston came at TD Garden on Nov. 24 in a 123-104 win.
Why it Matters:
The Nets’ hopes of clearing out of a play-in round spot are getting slimmer and slimmer by the day. Brooklyn sits 2.5 games back of the Toronto Raptors for the seventh spot and 4.5 games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the sixth spot, which would clear the Nets of the play-in tournament. The Nets are also only 1.5 games ahead of the Charlotte Hornets, who they face on Tuesday.
Kevin Durant enters today’s game in Boston with 24,967 career points, just 33 points shy of becoming the 23rd player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points. …
Kyrie Irving hasn’t faced the Celtics this season. In three regular-season games against Boston last season, he averaged 30.7 ppg (.508 FG, .500 3FG, 1.000 FT), 7.7 rpg, 7.3 apg, and 2.0 spg in 34.1 mpg (all wins). … In his first eight games as a Net, Seth Curry has averaged 16.6 ppg (.472 FG, .444 3FG, .818 FT), 3.6 rpg and 3.9 apg in 32.0 mpg, scoring 20+ points three times.
Nets: Seth Curry (left ankle soreness) is probable. David Duke Jr. (G League – two-way), Joe Harris (left ankle surgery), Ben Simmons (return to competition reconditioning/back soreness) and Day’Ron Sharpe (G League assignment) are out.
Celtics: Jaylen Brown (right ankle sprain) is questionable. Aaron Nesmith (right ankle sprain), Matt Ryan (G League two-way), and Brodric Thomas (G League two-way) are out.
Celtics vs. Nets Odds, Lines, More
- Spread: Celtics -4.5
- Nets Moneyline: +160
- Celtics Moneyline: -189