Trail Blazers beat Nets with Durant and Irving, 114-108
The Trail Blazers are still without Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but a new crew has been playing some inspired basketball.
Point guard Anfernee Simons scored 23 points and notched a career-high 11 assists and Ben McLemore and Robert Covington combined for 10 3-pointers as Portland beat Brooklyn 114-108 Monday at Moda Center.
It was a makeup game for the Blazers (16-24) and Nets (25-14), who were scheduled to play Dec. 23, but the Nets couldn't suit up the minimum eight players then because of health and safety protocols (COVID-19), and it was postponed.
Monday's game featured Kyrie Irving, the Nets' guard who has famously not received his vaccination, allowing him only to play road games because of New York City COVID-19 rules, as well as Kevin Durant. James Harden (knee) sat out the game.
The Nets were coming off a Sunday win at home in Brooklyn. The Blazers also played Sunday, beating Sacramento, but they didn't have to travel across the country for the makeup game the next day.
The Blazers took advantage of any fatigue on the part of their opponent. They led for much of the second half, after blitzing the visitors with a 32-19 third quarter, but the Nets trimmed it to 104-100 in the fourth.
Covington followed with a 3-pointer and, on the next possession, McLemore hit a long 3-pointer. A McLemore 3-pointer later helped seal the win.
Covington had 21 points and McLemore 20, and each hit five 3-pointers.
Durant had 28 points and Irving 22.
The Blazers also played without Norman Powell (health and safety protocols) and Larry Nance Jr. (right knee).
Along with Harden, the Nets were missing LaMarcus Aldridge (right foot) and Joe Harris (left ankle).
The Blazers now hit the road for six games, starting Thursday at Denver.
Lillard will not travel with the team on the road trip, still dealing with his abdominal tendinopathy. McCollum has apparently recovered from his collapsed lung, but he has yet to return to the lineup.
The road trip also includes stops at Washington (Jan. 15), Orlando (Jan. 17), Miami (Jan. 19), Boston (Jan. 21) and Toronto (Jan. 23).
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