The Nets are back on the road on Monday afternoon for a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 3 p.m.
It will be the first game they’ve played since Kevin Durant was injured on Saturday night and it was announced the following day that he had a sprained MCL. He will miss the next 4-to-6 weeks.
Monday is the first of four games this week that the Nets will play on the road, all of which Kyrie Irving is eligible to play in. That’s what made Sunday’s news on Durant even more disappointing since Brooklyn would have had their “Big Three” on the court together for a week.
Now James Harden and Irving will be the offensive focal points, as they trying to keep the Nets stellar record on the road intact.
“Guys got to step up. It’s simple,” Harden said on Saturday. “Obviously you know how great of a player KD is and what he brings to the table each and every night consistently. So, guys got to step up and fill that role and just continue to compete.”
Nets rookies Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe and Kessler Edwards have answered the call lately. The trio all scored double-digit points in Saturday’s win over New Orleans.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton are also making the trip to Cleveland. Aldridge is probable for Monday’s game and Claxton was listed as questionable by the Nets on Sunday.
Monday marks the third time the Nets and Cavs have gone up against one another this year. They met twice in November with Brooklyn getting the win in both games.
Cleveland parlayed things into a pretty successful run after those two losses. The Cavs have gone 17-9 since losing to the Nets and they’re coming off a 5-1 road trip, which saw them suffer their only loss of that swing to the Golden State Warriors.
“The theme of his trip was how would we react in adverse situations and environments,” said Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “We showed that grit and toughness to get that job done. We battled, didn’t give in.”
Former Net Jarrett Allen has been a big part of their success, recording 16.6 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are two games back of the Nets in the east and Brooklyn is half a game back of the Chicago Bulls for first in the East.
The Nets are 35-20 (.636) on the road since the start of last season. Only Phoenix (39-16, .709) has been better in that time. … Brooklyn has used a league-high-tying 21 different starting fives this season, which Los Angeles has also done this year. In that span, 16 Nets have drawn at least one start. … Kyrie Irving appeared in all three matchups against the Cavs last season. He averaged 30.7 points per game and 3.3 assists per game in 36 minutes per game.
Nets Injury Report
- LaMarcus Aldridge (right foot soreness) — Probable
- Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) — Questionable
- Kevin Durant (left knee MCL sprain) — Out
- Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
- James Johnson (non-COVID illness) — Out
- Paul Millsap (personal reasons) — Out
Cavaliers Injury Report
- Lamar Stevens (left knee soreness) — Questionable
- Rajon Rondo (right hamstring soreness) — Out
- Ricky Rubio (right knee ACL tear) — Out
- Collin Sexton (left knee meniscal tear) — Out
- Patrick Williams (Left Wrist Ligament Tear) — 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.