The Brooklyn Nets come to Portland to play the Trail Blazers Monday night with confidence, a two-game winning streak and some familiar faces.
The Nets (38-36) have won the last two stops on a seven-game, 15-day road trip -- Portland is game No. 6 -- with victories against the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooklyn rallied from a 28-point deficit -- the Nets trailed by 25 points heading into the fourth quarter -- to beat the Kings 123-121 on Tuesday. On Friday, they downed the Lakers 111-106.
"They play hard the whole game," Portland forward Moe Harkless said. "I watched the Sacramento game -- what a comeback that was. They're a team that can go on runs really fast and take over a game. We have to play hard for the whole 48 (minutes) against them."
"They're good," Portland center Zach Collins said. "Their guys have done a good job of staying together and playing the right way. They're putting it together this year for the first time in a while."
Three former Blazers are on the Brooklyn roster -- guards Allen Crabbe and Shabazz Napier and forward Ed Davis. Crabbe, a part-time starter, has missed the last four games with a knee injury. Davis has been a key force off the bench for the Nets, collecting 14 points and 15 rebounds in 20 minutes against the Lakers.
"As a rookie last year, Ed really helped me out," Collins said. "I'm thankful I had him. We had great times. It's fun to see him doing so well over there."
"It's fun, playing against those guys after being with them for awhile," Harkless said. "It will be good to see them, but we have to take care of business. We can hug each other after the game, but we have to handle our business on the floor."
Coach Kenny Atkinson said his emphasis will continue to be on the defensive side as the Nets make their playoff push.
"Our defense has been really good since the All-Star break," he said. "That's keeping us in games."
"We lost a tough game against the Clippers; we won a tough game in Sacramento, and then we got by the Lakers," forward DeMarre Carroll said. "We've just got to build off of this, take the momentum and get the next one in Portland."
Portland (45-27) has won six of its last seven games as it tries to climb into the top three spots in the Western Conference playoff race. The Blazers were fourth after Saturday's 117-112 home win over Detroit.
"We know it's possible (to move up), but we have to worry about ourselves," said point guard Damian Lillard, who had another in a stellar patch of performances, going for 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds against the Pistons. Over the past four games, Lillard is averaging 31.3 points and 10.3 assists while shooting .507 from the field and .463 from 3-point range.
"It's such a tight race that, with one or two losses here or there, you can drop three spots," he said.
"The position we're in now is a good spot. We'll keep up on who won and who lost (in the West), but it's best for us to focus on ourselves."
--Field Level Media
Nets look for third straight road win in Portland
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