Trail Blazers vs. Nets – three things to watch

The 10-4 Portland Trail Blazers host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night from Moda Center.

While there are multiple storylines to follow with each team, here are the three things to watch for in tonight’s game:

  1. Jusuf Nurkic’s mobility – Nurkic played Tuesday night against the Spurs after missing three games due to an adductor injury. While it was great to see him back on the court, but he was still clearly dealing with the injury – moving slowly and being limited to 15 minutes. In his short stints, Nurkic struggled to guard Jakob Poeltl – who had a career-high 31 points. The Nets don’t start a traditional big-man like Poeltl. They run out the speedy and athletic Nic Claxton. Claxton could pose problems for Nurkic (if he plays) should he not be closer to 100 percent.
  2. Can Portland take care of the ball – The Trail Blazers are finding ways to win, but they have yet to consistently limit turnovers. Against the Spurs, things looked better in that regard, but then Portland threw it away seven times in the third quarter, allowing San Antonio to hang around. With a scorer like Kevin Durant on the other team, the Trail Blazers need to find a way to take care of the ball and limit careless turnovers.
  3. Will the Nets be motivated – Kyrie Irving. Steve Nash. Ben Simmons. Brooklyn has already dealt with multiple seasons’ worth of drama this year. Frustration is clearly bubbling over, with Kevin Durant calling out teammates by name and a reported players-only meeting about Ben Simmons and his availability. Coming off a brutal 153-121 loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Nets can either rally together or completely roll over. We could get a glimpse of which direction they’ll go tonight.

The Trail Blazers are two-point favorites . Tipoff is at 7pm.