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The Nets make a stop in Portland

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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Still can't go back-to-back. After breaking their 16 -game losing streak against Sacramento on Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets went to Utah and sought to win two straight games for the first time this season. The Jazz prevented that from happening as they beat the Nets last night.

The opponent tonight will be the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have had a terrible season, but all is not lost. They beat the Thunder on Thursday night and are currently 2.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for eighth in the West.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 10 PM.

Injuries

Joe Harris had to leave last night's game and was checked for concussion like symptoms. It's likely he misses this game. No word on Justin Hamilton, who missed the Jazz game with an undisclosed illness.

Ed Davis is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Evan Turner has been out for a month with a hand injury but might be coming back soon.

The game

Portland won the first game back in November.

Getting out of Denver he done wonders for Jusuf Nurkic. He was sent to the Pacific Northwest during the All Star break in exchange for former Net Mason Plumlee. In five games, he's averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists a night while shooting 58 percent from the field. He’s done well, but as Dave Deckard of Blazers Edge notes:

All of this indicates what we’ve just said, that there’s no reason to dislike this trade yet. But when we talk about “turning the corner” and whether Nurkić is a player to help the Blazers do it, we also have to acknowledge that so far his contributions aren’t that far above Plumlee’s. If we didn’t think Mason would be a turn-the-corner guy, there’s no case yet to think Nurkić will be.

Time will tell if Nurk will be enough to push the Blazers into contention. In the meantime, he’ll be dealing with Brook Lopez. After having to sqaure off with Rudy Gobert last night, this game represents a bit of a breather for the big guy. Portland is pretty thin upfront, so Lopez could be in line for a big game. However, he's on night two of a b2b and coming out of the altitude of Salt Lake City so his minutes might be on the low side this evening.

Jeremy Lin and Isaiah Whitehead were unable to slow down George Hill last night and now have to face one of the league's best scorers. Damian Lillard is seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 26.2 points a night while shooting a career best 43.9 percent from the field. He makes great use of pick and rolls, scoring 10 points a night when it's run. The Nets have had their issues guarding the P&R, as they've allowed the most points in the league on pick and rolls (5th worse by possession). Dame has killed the Nets throughout his career and his 50 percent from the field against them is his highest against any single team.

We’ll be seeing a player who almost joined the Nets this summer. Brooklyn made a big run at Allen Crabbe, but as a restricted free agent, Portland had the right to match any offer and they did. His three point shooting would have fit well with the Nets, but he's struggled in other aspects of the game. Maybe the Nets dodged a bullet?

Player to watch: C.J. McCollum

Lillard gets all the attention, but CJ is a hell of a wing man. He's averaging 23 points a night and is pretty close to having a 50/40/90 season. He can break defenders down off the dribble and finishes well for someone his size. He's a poor defender but the Blazers have been able to overcome that for the most part. In his down time, CJ helps to train high school students who aspire to become journalists. We can never have enough good journos and writers so I hope to see their bylines in the future.

Caris Levert hasn't played both ends of a back-to-back since January 20-21 when the Nets played road games in New Orleans and Charlotte. If he does play, look for his minutes to be monitored closely. that should open things up for Spencer Dinwiddie off the bench. Since February 1, he's shot 43.1/48/83.9 while dramatically cutting down on his turnovers. The Nets will be evaluating the roster and determining who will fit into their future plans. If he keeps it up, we'll have to reserve a spot for Spencer

From the Vault

Someone was kind enough to put together a Drazen Petrovic best of mix from his time in Portland. They are appreciated.

More reading: Blazers Edge