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Live Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 8:00 PM EST

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Portland Trail Blazers v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

We used to talk about the Brooklyn Nets “big three” - Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant - but maybe it’s time to talk about the big four: with Alize Johnson!

Johnson went off on Thursday night, notching 20 points and 21 rebounds.

OK, so maybe we don’t need to talk about a “big four,” but maybe we talk about the role Johnson can/should play in playoffs?

Friday night the Nets take on the Blazers, on a second night of a back-to-back. Kyrie Irving is expected back, which will be nice. Portland has won two in a row, but just 3 of their last 10. And they actually have played better on the road this season (18-12) than they have at home (16-16).

Porland is in a fight for a playoff spot, so expect them to throw everything at the Nets tonight.

We’ll be on Clubhouse after the game talking Nets with a bunch of (hopefully) enthusiastic Nets fans. Join us!

WHO: Brooklyn Nets (43-20) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (34-28)

WHEN: 8:00 PM EST

WHERE: NBA TV (national), YES2 (local), WFAN (radio)

Game Preview.

I think I speak for everyone here when I say we have a soft spot for our old friend Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, so it’s really nice to see him on this Blazers club. Hopefully he gets to stick around for a while and is on their playoff roster.

Can’t believe we got this far in the story without talking about Damian Lillard. Dame had been bothered by a hamstring injury which caused him to miss a little bit of time. Since he’s been back, he’s averaging 23.6 points a night on a disappointing .366/.313/.935 shooting split. If Portland wants to go on a deep playoff run, they’re going to need him to step up and play at the near MVP level he was at earlier in the season.

Assuming Irving is out or limited tonight, the guard duo of Tyler Johnson and Mike James will keep things running. Johnson hit three three pointers as the starter and James handed out seven assists coming off the bench. Brooklyn’s depth has been a (nationally speaking at least) under-appreciated part of their story this season and with every guy on the roster empowered and able to contribute, gives Steve Nash and friends the opportunity to rest their less than 100 percent players as much as possible.

For more on the Blazers, check out Blazers Edge.