Durant is not enough, Brooklyn still down: Portland is partying

The Nets fall 114-108 at the home of the Blazers: KD puts 28 points, Irving comes out with a sprained right ankle to be evaluated. For Nash’s team it is the fifth defeat in the last 7 games

False step. Another, a defeat in Portland in the second part of the longest back-to-back in NBA history (played in Brooklyn on Sunday at 6pm Italian time, in the heart of Oregon on the Pacific coast less than 36 hours later) that made a new alarm on the health of the Nets, bent 114-108 from the remains of the Blazers. It is the fifth defeat in the last 7 games for a team that has forgotten to defend (7th game in a row with at least 110 points granted) and that punctually goes out when Kevin Durant is no longer able to be magical.

Coach Nash is continuing to experiment, unavoidable when you have one of your top 3 players only available away, but still can’t find the right set-up. And Brooklyn struggles a lot more than one might expect in the middle of the season. The bad luck of the Nets is instead the luck of the Blazers, who even without their three best players (Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum injured, Norman Powell in the Covid protocol) win for the second time in a row. “It’s a great c… of victory,” says Robert Covington on live TV.

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For Brooklyn (25 won-14 lost so far) in addition to the damage of the defeat there could be the insult of Kyrie Irving’s injury: in Portland he played his second game of the season, he came out with 22 points and a sprained right ankle. whose severity is to be assessed. Wednesday in Chicago Kyrie would do it all right, because these Nets don’t have an identity yet and can’t find it if the Big Three don’t play together. James Harden was missing against the Blazers, stopped by hypertension in his left knee: nothing serious, but Brooklyn did not want to risk the Barba and Nash and Durant and Kyrie were left alone to bear the weight of an attack that still struggles to find alternatives to the stars. They would have served above all in the second half, to break the three-man curse that ended up making the difference: after the break Portland, who stammered 3/15 in the first half, hammered 12/23 from the arc while Brooklyn missed 12 of 15 triple attempted. “We ran out of energy,” Nash said. There is more: the team lacks an identity and the coach is still looking for reliable men alongside his stars. Cam Thomas with 21 points and 8/12 shooting showed him that it can be one, the other rookie Day’Ron Sharpe stood out with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks from the bench. But Brooklyn needs more, starting with continuity.

Oxygen

For Portland (16-24) this victory is pure oxygen. The Blazers for the first time this season close with the entire quintet in double figures, led by another good performance by Anfernee Simons, the apprentice Lillard who closes with 23 points and 11 assists. Robert Covington is fundamental, for the 21 points with 5/7 from the arc and for the defense that helped in the second half to extinguish Durant, 20 points before the break and only 8 after. “Defense was the key – said RoCo, who has returned to make a difference after a difficult period -. Everyone made a contribution, we played well as a team ”. While waiting to recover the injured (Lillard will not be there at least for the next 6 games), coach Billups at least had positive signs to work on for the series of 6 upcoming trips: the Blazers away from the Moda Center have won only 2 times in 15 attempts.

The match

Durant lights up in the 2nd quarter (12 points) and launches Brooklyn’s escape, who touches 64-55 with the first basket of the second half signed by Claxton. The triples, however, rekindle Portland, which accelerates in the final of the third quarter with a partial 10-2 and reaches the siren ahead 87-81. KD is no longer able to make a difference, Irving is still running in and the Nets do not find alternatives: Portland then takes advantage of it, with McLemore who in the final guesses the triples that close the game.

Portland:Simons 23 (8/13 from two, 2/11 from three, 1/2 free throws), Covington 21, McLemore 20. Rebounds: Nurkic 8. Assists: Simons 11.

Brooklyn: Durant 28 (7/12, 2/7, 8/8 tl), Irving 22, Thomas 21. Rebbalzi: Durant 10. Assist: Durant 5, Mills 5.

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Durant is not enough, Brooklyn still down: Portland is partying

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