The Portland Trail Blazers opened as 1.5-point favorites on the NBA odds at William Hill Sportsbook for Tuesday's home game against the Brooklyn Nets, but that spread is already up to 4.5 points as the Nets for sure will be without All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as well as top reserve Landry Shamet. In addition, All-Star James Harden is being listed as questionable – if the Beard sits, too, expect the spread to rise even more.
It was known Durant wouldn't play as he's still likely a week or two off in returning from a hamstring injury. Irving will miss Brooklyn's entire three-game road trip as he trends to a family matter. He is averaging 28.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists this season. Shamet (7.8 ppg) sprained his ankle in Sunday's win over Washington and sounds as if he will miss the trip as well.
It would be a minor surprise if Harden (25.4 ppg, 11.3 apg, 8.8 rpg since joining the Nets) doesn't play as NBA teams use the questionable term rather liberally. Harden is being listed with neck soreness. The Nets are 5-2 straight up when KD, Harden and Irving play together, 13-3 with Harden and Irving but no KD, 3-4 with KD and Irving but no Harden, 2-0 with KD and Harden but no Irving, and 2-2 with Harden and no KD or Irving. Brooklyn is 22-7 when Harden plays.
The Nets have been money vs. the Western Conference this season, going 13-4 straight up and having won their past eight on the road against the superior conference. Portland should be fully healthy other than remaining without center Jusuf Nurkic, who hasn't played in months but might be back next week.
This is the first meeting of the season between the Nets and Blazers and they split last season – Portland All-Star Damian Lillard averaged 51.0 points in them. Lillard has scored at least 30 points in four of his last five games against the Nets, including a 60-point game in November 2019.
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