It's a good news/bad news type of deal for the Brooklyn Nets on Monday as they are expected to have All-Star Kyrie Irving back against the Minnesota Timberwolves after Irving missed all of last week to deal with a family matter. However, Kevin Durant still isn't ready to come back from a hamstring injury and key reserve Landry Shamet is still out with an ankle problem. Monday might be the debut of the most recent Nets addition, LaMarcus Aldridge, but more than likely not. Brooklyn is an 11-point favorite over the Wolves on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds.
Brooklyn went 2-1 last week without all those guys listed above and that one loss was without James Harden, but he's fine now. Irving is eighth in the NBA in scoring at 28.1 ppg and is second in the league in offensive rating (121.0), trailing only Kawhi Leonard (121.2).
Coach Steve Nash, a pretty darn good former point guard himself, said that neither Durant nor Shamet is expected to play this week. Durant did recently play 4-on-4 and he's progressing well in his rehab, but the Nets will be uber-cautious with him.
The Spurs couldn't find a trade partner for Aldridge ahead of last Thursday's trade deadline, and he signed with the Nets in a bit of a surprise – multiple reports had him going to Miami. Aldridge was the second bought-out veteran to head to the Nets in recent weeks; another former All-Star, Blake Griffin, was the first.
Frankly at this point, it might be easier to list which Nets haven't been All-Stars than all the ones who have. It's not clear, though, if Aldridge will debut Monday yet. Probably not since he hasn't played in a game since March 1 and will need some conditioning.
William Hill now lists the Nets as +260 title favorites over the Lakers (+280). Via the SportsLine Projection Model (see below), Brooklyn's title chances rose from 19.7 percent to 24.7 percent with Aldridge added.
Minnesota is listing as out Josh Okogie (COVID protocols) and D'Angelo Russell (knee surgery). Second-leading scorer Malik Beasley returned from a 12-game suspension Saturday, but the Timberwolves still lost 129-107 at home to terrible Houston. Beasley had 13 points.
This is the first meeting of the season between the Timberwolves and Nets. Minnesota has won the past five in the series – both last season went to overtime. Brooklyn has failed to cover the spread its past five as a favorite overall this year.
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