The Brooklyn Nets are once again attempting to navigate an NBA season while dealing with controversy surrounding a star player, or two.
Kyrie Irving remains suspended and Ben Simmons, acquired last season for James Harden, still can’t figure out how to play offense in the NBA. In fact, he is worse than he was two seasons ago.
That all has left Kevin Durant, 34, to carry the Nets (6-9) and it’s not going so well. He is averaging 30.3 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists but the team isn’t winning. Part of that is because Simmons, who essentially forced his way out of Philadelphia and sat out last season, is having the worst season of his young career. Simmons, 26, is averaging 5.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. His career averages are 15.6 points, 7.7 assists and 8.0 rounds.
The Nets began the season 1-4 before winning five out of seven. They’ve since lost two consecutive games, Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers (3-10) and Tuesday at Sacramento (7-6).
Offensively, the Nets are not what you might expect a Durant-led team to be. They rank 19th in scoring (110.8 points per game) and have an offensive rating of 113.4 (16th). It doesn’t help that Irving, averaging 26.9 points per game, has appeared in just eight contests.
The Blazers’ defense is certainly equipped to handle a team relying so much on one player to generate offense. But that task could go easier with Justise Winslow and Jusuf Nurkic available. Both are questionable for Thursday.
The Blazers shouldn’t have problem scoring on the Nets, who have a defensive rating of 113.9 (20th).
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS VS. BROOKLYN NETS
What: Trail Blazers (10-4) at Nets (6-9), 7 p.m., Thursday.
Where: Moda Center.
Radio: Rip City Radio (KPOJ 620 AM).
TV channel: Root Sports Plus (in Portland: Comcast 1253, DirecTV 687-1).
Watch the game live online: You can watch this game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial). You can also get this game on DirecTV Stream’s “CHOICE” package (promotional offers), if you are out of fuboTV trials, or simply prefer that platform and their pricing plans. If you already have a cable or satellite provider that carries Root Sports and want to watch online, you can watch this game live on Root Sports Live.
Moneyline: POR -125 | BKN +105
Spread: POR -1.5 | Over/Under: 220.5
Blazers: Keon Johnson (hip pointer), Justise Winslow (illness) and Jusuf Nurkic (left quad contusion) are questionable. Gary Payton II (return to competition reconditioning), Olivier Sarr (right wrist sprain) and Greg Brown III (G League) are out.
Nets: Kyrie Irving (suspension), TJ Warren (left foot injury recovery) and Alondes Williams (G League) are out.
The Blazers host Utah at 7 p.m., Saturday.
— Aaron Fentress | afentress@Oregonian.com | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook). Subscribe to Oregonian/OregonLive newsletters and podcasts