Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson likes the timing of the Nets' five-game road trip that begins Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. Brooklyn is 0-2 on the road this season with the losses - one in overtime - by a combined five points as it prepares to meander its way through the West with games against Phoenix, Utah and Denver, and a stop in Chicago on the way home.
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Atkinson told reporters that a trip can "galvanize a team. We're trying to get on the same page on the court, but I think off the court it will help. ... However we come out of it, we're going to be better for it." Nets guard Kyrie Irving (31.7 points, 7.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds per game) tries to continue his strong start after scoring 39 points in a 135-125 victory over New Orleans on Monday. Portland begins its season with 13 of 18 on the road and fell to 3-3 away from home with a 107-101 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, and seeks its first win in three attempts at the Moda Center. Trail Blazers guards CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard recorded 22 points apiece versus Los Angeles - but neither scored in the fourth quarter, with Lillard's season average dropping to 30.0.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), NBC Sports Northwest (Portland)
ABOUT THE NETS (3-4): If center DeAndre Jordan (9.3 rebounds) cannot play because of an ankle injury, Jarrett Allen is expected to start at center with rookie Nicolas Claxton in line to see his first career minutes as Allen's backup. Caris LeVert is averaging 19.4 points - 7.9 above his career average - and has scored 20 or more in every other game this season after recording 23 on Monday. Taurean Prince (15 points, seven rebounds) has recorded three double-doubles after not having one in 55 games with Atlanta last season.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (3-5): McCollum has been the club's second-leading scorer behind Lillard since 2015-16 and continues to do so by averaging 20.9 points. Hassan Whiteside and Anfernee Simons scored 17 points apiece versus the Clippers with Whiteside grabbing 19 rebounds for his fourth double-double in seven games this season. Simons has reached double figures in three straight contests for the first time in his 28-game career.
1. Portland will play consecutive home games for the first time this season when it hosts Atlanta on Sunday.
2. Irving's 222 points are the most in club history through seven games, surpassing Stephon Marbury (203 in 2000-01) holding the previous mark.
3. The Trail Blazers have won three straight meetings and seven of eight after a 148-144 overtime victory March 25 with Lillard recording 31 points and 12 assists.