Expert Cappers Picks
National Basketball Association
Preview
Portland at Brooklyn
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, February 21, 2019
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Nets are one of the biggest surprises of the season and they resume their pursuit of an Eastern Conference playoff spot when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday. Brooklyn opened 8-18 before recovering with a 20-6 stretch and stands in sixth place in the East despite losing five of its final seven games before the All-Star break.

The Nets have already surpassed last season's win total of 28 and know the final stretch of the season will be challenging as they seek their first playoff berth since 2015. "I'm glad we're kind of ahead of those expectations right now," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters. "But I look at the schedule and I think it's going to be a fight to be in the playoffs. I think it's going to be a down to the wire type of thing. That's how much respect I have for the teams we have to play and the schedule we have coming up. It's not a done deal by anything." Portland star point guard Damian Lillard (ankle) is listed as questionable for the contest. The Trail Blazers stand fourth in the Western Conference but are just 10-15 on the road as they begin a seven-game road trip.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Northwest (Portland), YES (Brooklyn)

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (34-23): Portland added big man Enes Kanter for the stretch drive and figures he can provide some much-needed scoring punch from the bench. The Trail Blazers once signed Kanter to a four-year, $70 million offer sheet in the summer of 2015 when he was a restricted free agent but the Oklahoma City Thunder matched the offer. Kanter averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds in 44 games for the New York Knicks this season and is a major upgrade over second-year pro Zach Collins (6.8 points, 4.3 rebounds).

ABOUT THE NETS (30-29): Sharpshooter Joe Harris is averaging a career-high 13.9 points and shooting a career-best 47.1 percent from 3-point range and the first-year starter saw his status raise by outdueling Stephen Curry to win the 3-point shooting contest during All-Star Weekend. Harris carved himself a role over the previous two seasons but has been a solid fixture on the much-improved current edition of the Nets. "A lot of guys in this league have got a unique path," Harris told reporters. "It sometimes takes guys longer than others. Some guys come in right away and are able to contribute. But I think you look at the makeup of our Brooklyn Nets team, and it's a lot of guys that were sort of cast off and had a second opportunity. I personally was one of those guys, and I got lucky."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Trail Blazers C Jusuf Nurkic averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds as the teams split last season's two meetings.

2. Nets F Jared Dudley (hamstring) practiced on Wednesday and is set to return after missing the previous 16 games.

3. Portland SG Rodney Hood (stomach illness) is listed as probable.

PREDICTION: Nets 112, Trail Blazers 105
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Portland 34-23 W1 24-8 10-15 0-1 34-22 4-8 20-19
Brooklyn 30-29 W1 17-13 13-16 3-4 27-25 7-6 21-17
Last Meeting
Portland Brooklyn
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/24/17 POR 127 BK 125 127 45 50.0 125 47 50.0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland D. Lillard 34 52.6 10
Brooklyn S. Dinwiddie 23 45.0 1
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland J. Nurkic 15 3 12
Brooklyn D. Carroll 9 1 8
Assists Player  
Portland D. Lillard 9
Brooklyn S. Dinwiddie 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland D. Lillard 1524 45.1 350
Brooklyn D. Russell 1247 43.6 116
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland J. Nurkic 611 199 412
Brooklyn E. Davis 525 168 357
Assists Player  
Portland D. Lillard 376
Brooklyn D. Russell 399
Quickchart Matchup
Portland Portland Off vs  Brooklyn Brooklyn Defense
Portland Off vs Brooklyn - Points For 113.3 Points For
Portland Off vs Brooklyn - Points Against 112.7 Points Against
Portland - FG% 46.4 FG%
Brooklyn - FG% 46.5 FG%
Portland - Reb 47.6 Reb
Brooklyn - Reb 45.1 Reb
Brooklyn Brooklyn Off vs  Portland Portland Defense
Brooklyn Off vs Portland - Points For 112.3 Points For
Brooklyn Off vs Portland - Points Against 110.3 Points Against
Brooklyn - FG% 45.1 FG%
Portland - FG% 45.6 FG%
Brooklyn - Reb 46.1 Reb
Portland - Reb 43.5 Reb