Time: 10:00 PM EST
Location: Moda Center
Watch: YES Network/ Fox Sports Go
Listen: WFAN 660AM/101.9FM
After snapping a 16-game losing streak in Sacramento, the Brooklyn Nets wasted no time in getting back to their typical ways and fell to the Utah Jazz on Friday, 112-97. As the annual circus road trip continues tonight, the Nets must quickly put the loss behind them before they take on Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. Both teams have been stumbling as of late — well, all season for the Nets — and Portland are just 3-7 in their last ten, recently slipping out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
In their last meeting back in mid-November in Brooklyn, the Nets lost, 129-109. However, like the bulk of the season, the Nets were without Jeremy Lin. The presence of Lin helps the Nets in a number of ways, so he’ll certainly be welcomed back for the rematch, but the Nets’ guard is coming off one of his most frustrating performances of the season. Lin scored 7 points against Utah, which wouldn’t be the end of the world, but George Hill toasted his counterpart for 31 points effortlessly.
Lopez, as he usually does, scored 21 points in the loss and should be relieved not to match up with any looming presences like Rudy Gobert again tonight.
Portland is coming off an 114-109 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game in which Russell Westbrook dropped 45 points. The Trail Blazers, despite a 25-35 record, are currently 2.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference and are looking to get back on track before it’s too late.
3 Things to Watch for in Nets-Trail Blazers:
1. Jeremy Lin
Lin has played in four games since returning from his nagging hamstring injury. In the three games the Nets lost with Lin on the court, he scored 7, 9, and 7 points respectively. But in the win over the Kings, Lin recorded 17 points and 5 assists. See the connection? Even in limited minutes, the Nets need Lin to produce 15 points or higher while dishing out some assists if they hope to win.
2. Limit Damian Lillard/ C.J. McCollum
This, of course, is easier said than done as the duo forms one of the best backcourts in the league, but the Nets will have to at least limit their production a little bit. Lillard is averaging 31.7 points per game over the past week and McCollum scored 33 points, knocking down six three-pointers, in their last meeting.
3. Quincy Acy
Acy had his best scoring game of the season in the loss to the Jazz, tallying a hard-working 18 points, connecting on two of his three attempted three-pointers in just 18 minutes of work. Will the energetic Acy repeat this stat line? Let’s hope so. With Joe Harris out with a concussion and Isaiah Whitehead struggling with a sprained shoulder, there should be some minutes for Acy to get ahold of once again.