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Nets and Blazers play a Black Friday matinee

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s really simple: they have LeBron James and you don’t. The Brooklyn Nets found this out the hard way when the King of New York took over in the fourth quarter and led the Cavs to their sixth straight win on Wednesday night. After this, they’re heading out of town for a quick three-game road trip.

The opponent tonight, oops we mean this afternoon, will be the Portland Trailblazers. They had a pretty rough evening in Philly on Wednesday and lost by 20 points. This is the first leg of a holiday back-to-back. They’re in DC to play the Wizards tomorrow night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Make sure you get up early as you prepare to shop, hit the gym or get away from your family as this one will tip off after noon.


Trevor Booker sat Wednesday’s game due to an ankle injury. He is probable. Both of the Nets injured point guards, Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell, got some face time this weekend.

JLin was interviewed by Weibo, the big Chinese social media site.

And DLo showed up at Barclays to watch a college game.

Get better the two of you.

Al Farouq Aminu is close to returning from an ankle injury, but he’s out for this one.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game two weeks ago.

The Blazers offense has three key pieces, and that's created some complications. After Wednesday's loss, Moe Harkless had this to say to Jason Quick of NBC Sports NorthWest:

“I’m just out there, and that’s frustrating. I’m just out there playing defense, which is cool … running back and forth. Out there running track.’’

Oh dear. I'm sure Terry Stotts will look to incorporate him more into the offense as the season goes on. Guys will give a little more effort when they know they’ll get the ball a bit more often.

We’ve got ourselves a pretty solid early afternoon battle at point guard. In six games as a starter, Spencer Dinwiddie is averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 assists on a 43.3-41.6-82.6 shooting split. He’s been a stabilizing force since D’Angelo Russell went out and should see his minutes increase even more as the season rolls on.

On the other side, Damian Lillard has been getting better each season he’s been in the league and is having the best season of his career. His shooting percentages from the field aren’t there, but he’s getting to the free throw line and converting at the best rate of his career. He’s gotten hammered for his bad defense over the years, but he appears to be contributing on that side of the ball this year.

Player to watch: Jusuf Nurkic

Considering that they only had to give up Mason Plumlee and a second round pick to get him, the Blazers came out like gangbusters after they acquired Nurkic from Denver last winter. That said, it’s been a difficult year for big Nurk. He’s shooting his lowest field goal percentage since his sophomore season, is grabbing rebounds at the lowest rate of his career and isn’t getting as many assists as usual. On the bright side, his jump shot has been on point and that opens things up for Portland’s offense. He’s set to be a free agent this summer, but it’s likely he and the Blazers will come to an agreement before things get out of hand. He loves the community and has formed a special bond with Lillard. It’s hard to leave a place you love.

Look for Tyler Zeller or Booker, if healthy, to start at Center again. Zeller has been a nice contributor for Kenny Atkinson this year and has supplanted Timofey Mozgov in the rotation. Jarrett Allen should see some more time as well. He played a season high 18:35 on Wednesday and made some nice plays while he was out there. If he keeps developing at the rate he has been, he’ll consistently crack 20+ minutes a night pretty soon.

Might Mozgov play? His last decent game was vs. Portland out west. In the Nets win, he had nine points on 4-of-5 shooting and grabbed five boards in 18 minutes.

From the Vault

Start your day by watching Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan get buckets.

More reading: Blazers Edge