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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets

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The Blazers need a win. Can they get past Kyrie Irving?

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (3-5) at Brooklyn Nets (3-4)

November 8, 2019 - 7:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out) Jusuf Nurkic (out), Pau Gasol (out)
Nets injuries: DeAndre Jordan (out), Kevin Durant (out), Wilson Chandler (suspended)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: NetsDaily

The Portland Trail Blazers lost their third in a row on Wednesday, getting overwhelmed in the fourth quarter by the Paul George-less Los Angeles Clippers. While they fell by a score of 101-107, it was a bounce-back game of a sort as they looked much better than they did when they lost to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. A late-night flight after a loss leading to the second of a back-to-back against a well-rested opponent isn’t exactly what the Blazers want, but they will be eager to get their first home win and break their losing streak.

The Brooklyn Nets have been off since Monday, preparing for their five game road trip that begins tonight in Portland. Last time out the Nets beat the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 135-125 in Brooklyn. The Nets have only played two away games so far while the Blazers have only played two home games. Portland would much rather have the Nets at the end of Brooklyn’s road trip, but they will take what they can get. A home game against a beatable opponent may just be what the doctor ordered.

What to watch for

Lots of scoring. The Nets are scoring 121 points per game. The Blazers are putting 112.8 points on the scoreboard and have posted three games over 117. Both teams are capable of high output on the offensive end, but can they stop anyone? Not really. The Nets are giving up 120.3 points per game, somehow only 4th worst in the NBA, while the Blazers are giving up 114.3 per game. At least one Las Vegas casino has set the the total points line at 234.5, and you could easily talk me into the over.

Closing out on shooters is critical. It probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that a team scoring 120 per game can shoot the ball, but the Nets can really shoot the ball. The Nets are 4th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 47.3% and second in the Association at 40.1% from deep. The Blazers meanwhile have often been poor at staying close to shooters this year. If this becomes a high-scoring sharpshooting contest it could well be very bad news for the home team.

Slowing down Kyrie Irving. Or maybe not. Kyrie is scoring like a man possessed. He is second in the NBA in points, averaging 31.7 per game, while being fifth in the League in efficiency. However, when Kyrie goes off it doesn’t seem to have a predictable correlation to whether the Nets win or lose. The Nets have already lost games when Kyrie has scored 50 and 37, while winning games when he scored 22 and 26. If Kyrie goes into me-first mode, that’s probably good for the Blazers.

What they’re saying

Mike Mazzeo of Yahoo Sports thinks that Kyrie Irving is the least of Brooklyn’s Problems:

A massive Nike billboard featuring Irving and a quote — “In my heart, I knew I always wanted to play at home.” — now sits near Madison Square Garden. It probably won’t make New York Knicks owner James Dolan very happy. But the “Blueprint For Greatness” may actually be for real this time around.

Mollie Walker of the New York Post writes that if DeAndre Jordan can’t go against the Blazers, rookie Nicolas Claxton is ready:

When DeAndre Jordan sustained his ankle injury Monday, it was like losing a head from the Nets’ two-headed hydra at center.

It’s up to Nicolas Claxton, Jordan’s replacement, to ensure it comes back just as strong.

Matt_Brooks of Nets Daily take a deep dive on third-year pro Jarrett Allen, the good and the not so good:

After reportedly tacking on 15 extra pounds, some expected that “The Fro” would take ‘the leap’ in 2019-2020; generically speaking, Year 3 is when we typically learn if our precocious prospects are diamond-cut studs or just run-of-the-mill acrylic gemstones. To the untrained eye, it might appear as if Allen’s glow is more toward the gemstone end of the scale. In seven games, he’s seen his scoring drop from 10.9 points to 9.1, his celebrated blocks decrease by a notable whisker and, most important of all, his starting position evaporate. After all, he’s only started 57 percent of Brooklyn’s total games. (Small sample theater alert.)