The Brooklyn Nets have so many All-Stars that it's hard to keep track of them all, but here's what we know for Thursday's home game vs. Charlotte: MVP candidate James Harden will sit out with a tight hamstring and Blake Griffin will not play simply for rest. Kevin Durant remains out. However, LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to make his Nets debut. Charlotte, meanwhile, is listing top reserve Malik Monk as probable. The Hornets are 2-point underdogs on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds.
Brooklyn took over first place in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday with an interesting 120-108 home victory over awful Houston, which was a 12.5-point underdog. The Rockets led by as many as 18 points early on but were not going to cover that big spread until a meaningless three-pointer by Danuel House with about four seconds remaining resulted in the final score.
Harden sat out the fourth quarter against his former team with right hamstring tightness, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. There's obviously no reason for the Nets to push the Beard, so it's not a shock he will sit this one out. Griffin had his best game as a Net on Wednesday with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 22 minutes, but he doesn't play both ends of a back-to-back. Kyrie Irving often doesn't, either, but apparently he will play Thursday.
Aldridge hasn't played in a game since March 1 as the Spurs were holding him out in hopes of a trade but eventually had to buy out the six-time All-Star. He is available tonight but probably won't play a ton of minutes. Also available is reserve guard Landry Shamet, who hasn't played since March 21 due to an ankle injury. He averages 7.8 points per game.
Of course, Charlotte remains without former Rookie of the Year favorite LaMelo Ball, but we knew that. Monk was listed as probable ahead of Tuesday's game in Washington but then was ruled out about 45 minutes beforehand – so take his probable listing here with a grain of salt. The former Kentucky star averages 13.2 ppg.
Charlotte beat visiting Brooklyn 106-104 on Dec. 27 behind 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds from Gordon Hayward. Durant and Irving combined for 54 points, but Harden was still in Houston then, Griffin in Detroit and Aldridge in San Antonio. The Nets had a handful of guys play that night who are either out injured now or with other teams.
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