After clinching a playoff berth against the Sacramento Kings, the Brooklyn Nets are expected to be without three of their key performers Sunday when they face the Los Angeles Clippers.
Guard Caris LeVert (rest), center Jarrett Allen (left ankle sprain) and forward Joe Harris (groin) were listed as doubtful on the Nets’ injury report Saturday. Brooklyn also will be without former Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (left hamstring), who was injured in the Nets’ 119-116 win over the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
On Friday, LeVert led the Nets with 22 points, and Allen collected 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a 119-106 victory over the Kings, punching Brooklyn’s ticket to the postseason. Allen’s performance was huge, LeVert said.
“He did a great job of just moving the ball,” said LeVert, who also had seven assists, according to the New York Daily News. “We played through him at the top of the key, and he’s done a great job of making decisions.”
Harris had 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 5 of 7 on 3-pointers, against Sacramento.
The Nets (33-36) are 3-2 since the NBA restart and hold the No. 7 seed in the East, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Orlando Magic with three games remaining. They have been a surprise success story playing without Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince. Irving had season-ended shoulder surgery, while the latter three opted out after testing positive for COVID-19. The Nets also are without Wilson Chandler and Nic Claxton, and of course, Kevin Durant, who won’t play until next season as he recovers from a torn Achilles.
The short-handed Clippers (47-22) recorded a 122-117 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday despite playing with mostly reserves down the stretch. Paul George led Los Angeles with 21 points but watched from the bench late in the game as the Clippers won consecutive games for the first time since the restart began.
Landry Shamet, who finished with 19 points, and JaMychal Green, who had 13 points and eight rebounds, helped the Clippers rally against the Blazers. Reggie Jackson scored 17 points, Marcus Morris Sr. contributed 15 and Lou Williams added 12.
Rodney McGruder’s 3-pointer with 26.5 seconds remaining gave the Clippers the lead for good. Shamet converted two late foul shots to sink Portland.
Shamet said Clippers coach Doc Rivers motivated him with some choice words at halftime.
“We knew we were short-handed, but that doesn’t change anything. We’ve got to still win games in tough situations, so it’s an opportunistic league and it was an opportunity for us to step up and play a role in a good way,” Shamet told reporters after the win. “Just trying to play my game, stay within myself, but Doc got on me at halftime and told me to start playing my game and get into the game.
“So I tried to be a little more aggressive and bring my intensity up on both ends and try to help get a win.”
The Clippers played without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who the club holds out of back-to-back games because of a lingering knee injury, and guard Patrick Beverley (calf). Leonard is expected to play Sunday but the status of Beverley, who has been listed as day-to-day, is unknown.
–Field Level Media