Home Sports Nets bracing for showdown with red-hot Damian Lillard

Nets bracing for showdown with red-hot Damian Lillard

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The Nets are bracing for dominant Damian Lillard and his desperate Trail Blazers. And even if Brooklyn couldn’t care less about playing spoiler, they’re trying to close out the regular season right and head to the playoffs on a good note.

Holding Lillard under 60 would be a step.

“We’ll appreciate our own lawn. We’ll worry about ourselves as a team, what’s best for us,” interim coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We talked about having some rhythm going into the playoffs, so all guys in that starting unit will be available to start. We’ll see how the game progresses, but I’m looking forward to getting some rhythm back on the floor.”

The Nets will be close to full strength, at least by their depleted standards. Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen all sat out Tuesday’s win over Orlando, but should be back against Portland. Chris Chiozza (adductor) and Donta Hall (ankle) are questionable, and Jamal Crawford (hamstring) is out.

“With Chris, he sat out of practice,” Vaughn said. “Again the health and rhythm, that balance, we’ll see what he feels like.”

Damian Lillard
Damian LillardAP

Still, for the most part the Nets will have bodies to throw at Lillard, averaging 37.0 points per game in the bubble. Lillard, who torched the Nets for 60 points in a Nets’ 119-115 win on Nov. 8, is coming off a 61-point masterpiece that carried Portland to a 134-131 win over Dallas and grabbed eyes around the NBA. He scored 51 the game before.

“Just seeing how he was able to dominate the fourth quarter not only in scoring but in just getting his teammates points setting his teammates up and the ability to lead the other team [garners attention],” Jarrett Allen said. “And just how well they’re jelling, the ferocity they’re playing with and just how much they want that spot.”

Portland moved into that eighth spot in the West, and would clinch it by beating the Nets. They would then need just one win out of two in a play-in to reach the playoffs.

“It’s a great last regular season game for us going into the playoffs. It’s going to be a playoff-like atmosphere and intensity, and in terms of preparation for us going forward, there’s no better game,” Harris said.

“You’re trying to continue to maintain your rhythm, have continuity, chemistry amongst one another. So big game regardless of the situation for us.”


Kevin Durant and Spencer Dinwiddie are working out … in California.

With Durant playing pickup games in LA, a video posted on Instagram Live by Pusha T showed him working with Dinwiddie, Long Island Nets Devin Cannady and Jaylen Hands, Knicks forward Kevin Knox and even ex-Knick Allonzo Trier.

Former Knick Carmelo Anthony has averaged 17.6 ppg in the restart, shooting 50 percent from deep.


“You have to commend [him]. I’m watching the game and to hear the stats is pretty impressive,” Vaughn said. “You give him a lot of credit for still having a place in this game, where he is extremely efficient at getting to his shots in spots and has really added a development of offense to Portland’s overall concept as a team.”

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