Brooklyn Nets vs Memphis Grizzlies

 

Brooklyn will be looking to add to a two-game winning streak when it travels to Memphis on Friday night. The Nets picked up a 122-109 win over Philadelphia on Thursday, despite missing their two stars. Memphis is on a three-game losing skid after falling to Cleveland on Thursday night.

Nets without Durant, possibly Irving

Brooklyn had lost four of five games before winning its last two. The Nets picked up a 130-96 blowout win over Utah and followed it up with a 122-109 win against Philadelphia on Thursday. They are currently without star forward Kevin Durant, who is out for four games due to COVID-19. Some unexpected news came shortly before Thursday’s game tipped off, as it was announced that guard Kyrie Irving would miss the game due to ‘personal reasons.’ There has not been any more info released regarding Irving’s circumstances. It is difficult to know whether Irving will be available on Friday night, so that is something to monitor.

The Nets have been one of the best offensive teams in the NBA this year, ranking third with 119.5 points per game. Their offense did not take a hit on Thursday, even with Irving and Durant sidelined. They will be facing a Memphis defense that ranks No. 20, allowing 112.1 points per game. Durant leads the team with 28.2 points and 7.0 rebounds, so his absence is a huge loss. Irving is right behind him with 27.1 points and 6.1 assists. Shooting guard Caris LeVert is the next-leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per game. Guard Joe Harris is adding 13.4 points and is one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA.

Grizzlies struggling without Morant

Memphis is off to an awful start this year, going 2-5 in its first seven games. One of the Grizzlies’ two wins came against Brooklyn on Dec. 28, as they picked up a 116-111 win in overtime. Their other win came at Charlotte on New Year’s Day. They have dropped three games since then, falling to the Lakers twice and to Cleveland once. Their big loss came when Ja Morant went down with an ankle injury in the third game of the season. He is out for several weeks and will miss this game. There has been a significant drop-off since Morant went out, which is not surprising.

Morant was leading the team with 26.3 points and 6.3 assists per game. Guard Dillon Brooks is scoring 16.9 points and is grabbing 4.4 rebounds per contest. Brooks has struggled with foul trouble in a lot of games, averaging more than four fouls per game. Forward Kyle Anderson is adding 15.7 points and 7.9 rebounds. Center Jonas Valenciunas is adding 14.7 points and is completing a double-double average with 11.6 rebounds per game. Forward Brandon Clarke is also in double figures, scoring 10.7 points per contest. Guard Desmond Bane has seen his role increased since Morant went down, averaging 9.1 points.