The Nets continue their tough stretch of Eastern Conference opponents above them in the standings when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the reigning NBA Champion, Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night (8:30 p.m.). The Nets lost their first game post-All-Star break against the Boston Celtics, while the Bucks have yet to play a game.
Following the loss against the Celtics on Thursday night, when asked about the importance of getting healthy Steve Nash stated, “that’s it. That’s one, two, three, and four really.”
While the Nets will still be without Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, and Joe Harris on Saturday, they will gladly welcome Kyrie Irving back into the lineup and are hopeful Goran Dragic will make his team debut. Dragic is listed as probable on the injury report.
For Irving, it will be his first game with new teammates Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, as he has not played since Feb. 12 against the Heat. During the two weeks off for Irving, the Nets have had four games and have gone 2-2. It will also be Irving’s first time back in Milwaukee since the playoff series when he landed on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot.
Curry and Irving have some familiarity together, as they played at Duke University together during the 2010-2011 season where they posted a 30-4 record and were ranked first in the country for eleven weeks.
As for the Nets, they are going to need to start off the game strong due to the fact they have an 8-23 record when entering the 4th quarter trailing. Nash should start Blake Griffin alongside Kessler Edwards and Andre Drummond, to provide the Nets with the size/length, in order to make the game as difficult as possible for Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
The Nets and Bucks have met twice already this season, with the Bucks winning both games by an average of 17.5 points. It is worth noting that Irving was not available for either of these games. The two teams will meet again for the fourth and final matchup on March 31st at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Nets remain the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and time is running out for them to catch up. With only 22 games left in the regular season, the Nets are facing an uphill climb as they are 3.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the 6th seed (out of the Play-In Tournament).
“We recognize the situation we are in,” Nash said. “We are up against the clock and know there’s an urgency to rise up the standings.”
The Nets have gone 5-14 since Kevin Durant injured his knee against the New Orleans Pelicans. Overall the Nets are 7-17 with Kevin Durant sidelined. … The Nets have the second-worst record in the East over the last 5 weeks going 4-14, only the Knicks are worse at 3-13. … Seth Curry is averaging 19.3 ppg 50/46/100 splits for the Nets in 4 games. … Jevon Carter and DeAndre Bembry will both make their debut playing against the Nets for the first time since getting waived.
Nets Injury Report
- Goran Dragic (return to competitive conditioning)- PROBABLE
- Kevin Durant (left knee- MCL sprain)- OUT
- Ben Simmons (return to competitive conditioning)- OUT
- Joe Harris (left ankle surgery)- OUT
Bucks Injury Report
- George Hill (neck soreness) -QUESTIONABLE
- Pat Connaughton (right finger surgery)- OUT
- Brook Lopez (back surgery)- OUT
How To Watch
Saturday’s game will be nationally televised on ABC with Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Lisa Salters on the call. The game can also be heard locally on WFAN 101.9 FM / 660 AM with Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw on the call and nationally on ESPN Radio with Sean Kelley and Tim Legler calling the action.