The Brooklyn Nets have barely had their three superstars, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, healthy/active together at once this season for one reason or another – mainly injuries. That won't happen Wednesday vs. the visiting New Orleans Pelicans, either, as while Durant is expected to play for the first time in several weeks, Harden is out. Pelicans second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram is iffy with his own injury. Assuming Zion Williamson plays, it will be the first NBA meeting between Durant and Williamson. The Nets are -10.5 on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds.
Durant, listed as probable, hasn't played since Feb. 13 (23 games missed) due to an injured hamstring and obviously the Nets were being mega-cautious considering he missed all of last season following his torn Achilles' tendon. If the former MVP and scoring champion had enough games to qualify, his 29.0 ppg average would rank fourth in the league.
Harden, though, lasted just four minutes in Monday's win over the Knicks before leaving with his own hamstring trouble and is out at least 10 days. Harden is averaging 25.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 10.9 assists for the Nets.
Durant, Harden and Irving have played just seven games together – the Nets are 5-2 in those -- and at this point it's fair to wonder if they will have time to jell alongside new additions LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin before the playoffs. Assuming Irving plays Wednesday, the Nets are only 3-4 with him and Durant but no Harden.
It's the second of a back-to-back for New Orleans, which lost 123-107 in Atlanta on Tuesday. Zion Williamson returned from a three-game injury stint (thumb) with 34 points, but Ingram (23.8 ppg) missed his fourth in a row with a sore right foot. In addition, the team has ruled out two top reserves, Nickeil Alexander-Walker (10.2 ppg) and Josh Hart (9.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg), for multiple weeks. Rookie point guard Kira Lewis Jr. (6.7 ppg) also sat Tuesday and presumably won't play here.
This is the first meeting of the season between the teams. Brooklyn won both last year, but Zion didn't play in either and Durant didn't play at all in Zion's rookie year and missed this season's All-Star Game, so the two have never faced off in the NBA. New Orleans is 0-4 against the spread in the past four meetings.
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