Nets hope Kyrie Irving plays, Kevin Durant rests vs Blazers


 Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets smiles following their 120-108 win over the Houston Rockets at Barclays Heart on March 31, 2021 in New York Metropolis. Mike Stobe/Getty Photos/AFP

The Brooklyn Nets hope to see Kyrie Irving again on the court docket once they host the Portland Path Blazers on Friday night time.

Irving has skilled periodic groin points this season and the most recent bout of soreness precipitated him to overlook Thursday night time’s 130-113 street victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Brooklyn coach Steve Nash would favor seeing Irving on the ground versus Portland and Kevin Durant seated on the bench. Durant matched his season excessive of 42 factors in 36 minutes through the rout of the Pacers within the entrance finish of a back-to-back.

“Tomorrow can be a unique problem,” Nash mentioned after Thursday’s victory, Brooklyn’s fourth in a row. “We’ll see who is offered and the way it all appears to be like and we’ll play a extremely good Portland group and attempt to have an excellent efficiency.”

Nash mentioned he would moderately have Blake Griffin (14 minutes vs. the Pacers) play for the second straight night time than Durant, who not too long ago returned from a thigh harm and missed 23 video games with a hamstring harm earlier within the season.

Nash mentioned the choice may not be reached till near tipoff. However he definitely is impressed with Durant’s latest play for the Nets (43-20), who lead the Jap Convention by 1 1/2 video games over the Philadelphia 76ers.

“What can I say? I’ve the posh of teaching Kevin Durant,” Nash mentioned. “You stick him within the lineup and good issues occur.”

Durant recorded 10 assists, made 16 of 24 field-goal makes an attempt and hit all eight free throws in a robust all-around effort towards Indiana.

Brooklyn additionally acquired a stellar efficiency from Alize Johnson, who had one of the best contest of his 44-game NBA profession with 20 factors and a career-high 21 rebounds.

“The vitality was there from the second I walked into the constructing,” Johnson mentioned. “I used to be able to go on the market and show that I belong.”

Portland is instantly sizzling with back-to-back 21-point street wins over the Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies to open a six-game tour.

The stable outings observe a stretch by which the Path Blazers misplaced a season-worst 5 straight video games.

“We had been undoubtedly able to play,” veteran ahead Carmelo Anthony mentioned after Wednesday’s 130-109 win in Memphis. “You could possibly sense it. You could possibly really feel it that we had been locked in, and we knew how necessary this recreation was for us.”

Portland (34-28) trails the Dallas Mavericks by one recreation within the battle for the No. 6 seed within the Western Convention. The highest six groups keep away from the play-in spherical.

The Path Blazers had three 20-point scorers towards Memphis. CJ McCollum had 26 factors and 6 assists, Norman Powell tallied 24 and Damian Lillard added 23.

Portland led by as many as 33 factors within the first half whereas rolling to the blowout victory.

“To me, it’s a five-man protection so all people has to do their jobs,” Path Blazers coach Terry Stotts mentioned. “For me, the primary half was about group protection and that features transition protection.”

The Nets defeated host Portland 116-112 on March 23 with out Durant and Irving. James Harden led the way in which by scoring 25 factors and matching his profession better of 17 assists.

Harden (hamstring) will miss his thirteenth straight recreation on Friday.

Lillard recorded 22 factors and 9 assists for the Path Blazers in final month’s matchup however was simply 5-of-17 capturing.

Lillard, who ranks fifth within the NBA in scoring with a 28.2 common, is scoring simply 22.3 factors per recreation this month.

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