The Brooklyn Nets will be without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (and Kevin Durant yet again) on Tuesday night as they begin a road trip at the Portland Trail Blazers. Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Brooklyn Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 – 10:00 PM ET at Moda Center
Nets-Blazers is one of two 10 p.m. ET games on the NBA’s six-game schedule Tuesday, along with 76ers-Warriors, which will be on TNT.
The Nets and Blazers split their series last season, with Portland’s victory coming in the Orlando bubble. All-Star Damian Lillard averaged a whopping 51.0 points in the two thanks largely to a career-high and franchise-record 60-point game on Nov. 8, 2019, in Brooklyn.
Yet, the Nets won that 119-115. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 34 points and Kyrie Irving had 33. Dinwiddie is out injured this season, while Irving didn’t play in the second matchup with the Blazers.
Nets Without Irving & Maybe Harden?
Brooklyn remains without Kevin Durant with his strained left hamstring, and I doubt we see KD again until April. The Nets have the luxury of playing it safe with him.
On Monday, it was announced that Kyrie Irving would not accompany the team at all on its three-game road trip to deal with a family matter. Irving already has missed 12 games for various reasons, but he has been fabulous when out there. Irving is averaging 28.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists.
In addition, reserve guard Landry Shamet will probably miss the entire trip with a sprained right ankle suffered in Sunday’s 113-106 win over Washington. He’s averaging 7.8 points per game. Incidentally, Blake Griffin made his Nets debut Sunday and actually dunked – the six-time All-Star had gone 25 straight games without a dunk, with his last coming on Dec. 12, 2019. Griffin only played 15 minutes and had those two points.
Over the weekend, the Nets became the favorite to win the NBA title at most of the betting sites because of the high ankle sprain suffered by Lakers star LeBron James. That’s going to keep him out probably at least three weeks, and oddsmakers now are concerned that L.A. might have a home-court advantage only in the first round of the NBA playoffs with Anthony Davis also likely out at least another few weeks. The books aren’t really punishing Brooklyn because it resides in the much easier Eastern Conference.
With Irving, Durant, and Shamet out this week, James Harden could be looking at some monster games as he will be carrying the load. Harden is technically listed as questionable Tuesday with neck soreness, but I’d be stunned if he sits, too.
The Nets are 13-4 vs. Western Conference teams this season and have won eight straight vs. West teams on the road. Brooklyn has posted an above .500 record vs. the West once in the last 14 seasons, and that was 2013-14, but clearly, that’s going to happen this year. The Nets are 1-4 ATS in their past five on the NBA odds.
Blazers Laid Egg Last Time Out
Portland has played three two-game series in a row against one opponent: Splitting two in Minnesota, winning two at home vs. New Orleans, and then over the weekend splitting two at home vs. Dallas. The Blazers were flat-out embarrassed 132-92 by the Mavs on Sunday.
The backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is one of the NBA’s best, but they combined to shockingly shoot 0-for-12 from deep and finish with only 32 points on Sunday. Chalk that up to the Blazers perhaps simply being a bit tired as they were outscored 76-38 in the second and third quarters.
Coach Terry Stotts basically gave up and benched his starters to start the fourth. It was Portland’s worst defeat of the season, surpassing the 132-100 loss at Phoenix on Feb. 22, and Lillard’s first time without a made three-pointer since Feb. 12. He’s still second in the NBA in scoring at 30.3 ppg. Portland had a franchise-record streak of 54 straight games with at least 10 made three-pointers end.
On Monday, the team released a statement that 12 players received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. That shouldn’t affect anything for Tuesday, but something to monitor if, say, Lillard maybe has an adverse reaction or something. The players were able to get the vaccine from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, which had an excess supply of the vaccine. The Hawks and Pelicans also are known to have received vaccines so far as well in the NBA.
Portland is 4-1 ATS in its past five following a double-digit loss, and we like the Blazers here with Brooklyn so short-handed. That spread has risen to 4.5 points at some books, so get 1.5 points ASAP.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.