The star-studded Brooklyn Nets will be sans three All-Stars on Monday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves as Kyrie Irving will miss it for personal reasons, James Harden remains out injured and LaMarcus Aldridge will sit due to a non-COVID illness. In addition, it's expected that Kevin Durant will remain on a minutes limit. Yet, the Nets are still 6.5-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds – down from an open of -9.5.
The Harden news isn't a surprise as he is dealing with a hamstring strain and probably won't return for another couple of weeks. It's not clear what's going on with Irving as he also missed two weeks in January for personal reasons and broke the league's COVID protocols then and was fined. Irving also missed three games in late March while attending to a family matter. He was ejected from Saturday's home upset loss to the Lakers after a bit of a dust-up with L.A.'s Dennis Schroder.
Since Harden's debut, Brooklyn is 24-6 when at least two of the Big Three (KD, Harden & Irving) play. When Durant plays and the other two don't, the team is 2-1 this year. The Nets are 14-0 against Western Conference teams when Irving plays.
Aldridge has started for the Nets the past five games while DeAndre Jordan, who previously started at center for Brooklyn, has not played in the past five. Presumably, he will play Monday now. Durant has played a combined 43 minutes in two games since his return from a long injury absence.
It's the second of a back-to-back for Minnesota, which beat visiting Chicago on Sunday, 121-117. Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 12 rebounds and D'Angelo Russell 27 points.
The Timberwolves were 10.5-point underdogs when they visited Brooklyn on March 29 and lost 112-107. Harden had a triple-double of 38 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, while Irving had 27 points and seven rebounds. Durant was still out then and Aldridge hadn't debuted with the team. Towns led Minnesota with 31 points and 12 rebounds.
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