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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets Preview

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Portland looks to recover after a loss.

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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Brooklyn Nets Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (25-17) vs Brooklyn Nets (29-14)

The Portland Trail Blazers play the Brooklyn Nets in the final game of a five game home stand at Moda Center. The Blazers are trying to bounce back after a blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks two nights ago. The Nets are hoping to win their second straight game, coming off of a win against the Wizards.

Tuesday, March 21 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Anfernee Simons (out), Nassir Little (out)
Nets injuries: Spencer Dinwiddie (out), Kevin Durant (out), Kyrie Irving (out), Alize Johnson (out), Landry Shamet (out), James Harden (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Nets Daily

What To Watch For

  • Three Point Shooting. The Blazers, who have been shooting 38% from three so far this season, shot an atrocious 22% from three last game. The good news is: there isn’t much room to go but up from that. The Blazers rely heavily on their outside shot, ranking second in the league in both three point makes and takes, and they need to shoot better if they want to have any chance of winning tonight, especially against the Nets. The Nets shoot 39.9% from three, good for second in the league, and although they are missing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and may be missing James Harden, Joe Harris can catch fire from three at a moments notice.
  • Who Steps Up. The Brooklyn Nets could be without all three heads of the best three-headed monster in the league and will need solid contributions from players that are normally role players if they wish to keep this game even relatively close. If James Harden plays, a big game from him is very possible, but if he doesn’t, who steps up for the Nets? It could be Joe Harris making a crazy high percentage of the shots he takes, but it could even be a flash of prime Blake Griffin stealing the show for Brooklyn. The Nets have a couple role players that have the potential for big games here and there, but they will need more than just one or two to have good games if they want to win.
  • CJ McCollum. McCollum has been struggling by his standards since coming back from injury, posting games with 10, 11, and 13 points with a current outlier of 32 in that mix. The good news is that McCollum seemed to be getting back into a groove against the Mavericks, as even though the 13 point effort was low for his season average, he showed good flashes, but he just caught the contagious shooting woes of the entire Blazers roster that night. A game against a depleted Nets team might be exactly what McCollum needs to get going again for good.

What Others Are Saying

Chris Milholen of Nets Daily talks about how the Nets have been looking to integrate Griffin into their lineups.

With one game under his belt, Nash believes Griffin has the ability to play with different lineups - which he showed light on Sunday night. Nash, In particular, the 32-year-old showed promise playing alongside 21-year-old Nicolas Claxton in the frontcourt. The Wizards were the first team to get a preview of the versatile yet lengthy duo down low, battling around screens adding yet another unique element to the Nets offensive arsenal.

“It’s early but Blake’s an intelligent player. He can space the floor. You have to guard him at three. He’s a good playmaker with the ball so he can play off of Nic [Claxton] rolling or he can be the guy rolling or playmaking,” Nash said. “He’s a versatile player. An intelligent player that brings experience to our team so hopefully he can play in multiple lineups.”

Tom Dowd from NBA.com talks about Nic Claxton and his increased role with the Nets using a quote from James Harden.

“He’s comfortable. Comfortable and confident,” said James Harden. “When a young guy doesn’t worry about anything but playing hard and doing his job to the best of his ability, good things happen for him. That’s what we’re seeing out of Nic. He listens and he goes out there and watches film and he does his job every single night. Obviously, we all make mistakes, we all mess up, but his intentions are great and more than not, good things are going to happen for you. As far as communication, I try to help him get in his right spots and teach him different things that can make the game a lot easier for him. I think any young guy, the game is so fast for them. Once they settle in and get more comfortable, the pace slows down and they will be more effective.”

Brooklyn’s defensive rating with Claxton on the court over his 199 minutes so far is 99.0. At 6-foot-11, Claxton relishes the opportunity to switch across positions and has no problem matching up with a guard on the perimeter.