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Nets continue their road trip in Portland

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Not quite. After a win in Phoenix the night before, the Brooklyn Nets went into Denver hoping to win their second straight game. Unfortunately for them, their depleted frontcourt couldn’t slow down Nikola Jokic as he carried Denver to the win. For the road weary Nets, this is the first half of a back-to-back. They wrap up their five game trip Saturday night in Utah.

The Nets haven’t won two straight games on the road since the 2015-16 season.

The opponent Friday night will be the Portland Trail Blazers. The West is as loaded as ever and Portland is looking to go on a deep run this spring. They lost their last game on Wednesday to the Grizzlies.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Grab some snacks to help yourself stay awake because this one’s tipping off after 10 PM.


Rondae Hollis Jefferson, Trevor Booker, and Jarrett Allen all missed Tuesday’s game due to injuries. Book and RHJ, who practiced on Thursday, are questionable while Allen is still out with a sore left foot. No updates on when the rookie will return.

Al Farouq Aminu will be out due to an ankle injury. Meyers Leonard hopes to get back on the court in the next week or so.

The game

It should be a nice evening for Allen Crabbe. Crabbe spent the first four years of his career in Portland and grew into a reliable option off the bench for Terry Stotts and friends. Crabbe has had good moments so far in Brooklyn, but he’s been inconsistent for the first month and change.

As Greg Logan writes Thursday...

He’s averaging a career-high 11.1 points, but his three-point percentage is down to 37.1, his overall shooting percentage has dropped from 46.8 to 37.5, and he has scored in single digits in six of 11 games, including a scoreless night against the Knicks and a three-point outing in Denver on Tuesday, when he shot 1-for-8.

“I’ll take the blame for the inconsistency,” Crabbe said. “That’s on me. It’s not any inconsistency with my teammates or not learning how to play with them. I feel like I’ve had enough time. It’s just me.

He’ll get a chance to be matched up against one of the best shooting guards in the league. CJ McCollum has gotten better each year he’s been in the league and is more than capable of being a steady lead scoring option. He's shooting an amazing 52.4 percent from three point range and for a team that has had some trouble defending the three point line in the past, CJ will be a major test.

The Nets frontcourt is still in shambles, and they’ll be facing another quality young big man. Jusuf Nurkic revitalized his career once he got out of Denver and has grown into a solid starter. He's going to be a restricted free agent, but he's happy in the Pacific Northwest and will likely sign a big contract. Tyler Zeller has been helpful over the past few games, scoring 21 points vs. Denver. If he can continue providing decent minutes off the bench, might be able to force his way into the regular rotation when everybody comes off the injured list.

Player to watch: Damian Lillard

Life is good for Dolla. He’s widely accepted as one of the best guards in the league and is a pretty solid rapper in his own right. The field goal percentages aren't there, but no one's worried because Dame is getting to the free throw at the highest rate of his career and is one of the best late game scorers in the league. He's fun and seeing fun players excel is always a positive.

When you play at the fastest pace in the league, some per game numbers will naturally be inflated some. However, there’s something concerning about one particular D’Angelo Russell statistic. He's turned the ball over 18 percent of the time he's had it, a mark that would be the highest of his young career. Some of that is due to him being the lead ballhandler on a new team, but a good amount of his turnovers have resulted from caress passes and that's something he can control. Kenny Atkinson will pull DLo out of games after particularly egregious turnovers to give him a quick coaching session before putting him back in. It's a growing experience for everybody, and the more work Russell gets as the leading man and playing against the best guards in the league, the better he'll be in the long term.

From the Vault

Former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay passed away on Tuesday after he was in a plane crash. Doc was one of the best pitchers of his generation, so let’s take a trip back to 2010 and relive one of his greatest performances.

On a lighter note, yesterday was one of the more important days in music history.

And not to be outdone, A Tribe Called Quest dropped Midnight Marauders on the same day. Act like you know, not now, but right now.

More reading: Blazers Edge