Brooklyn, deprived of its stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, left to rest, conceded a second consecutive defeat (116-111 after extra time) against Memphis on Monday, while the Lakers were surprised at home by Portland (115-107 ).
Beaten the day before in Charlotte (106-104), the Nets fell this time in their room against a team that had not yet won this season. Steve Nash, the new coach of the New York franchise, had chosen to do without Durant, who missed all of last season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon, in order to “protect him and protect us from any negative consequences ”.
Durant and Irving weren’t the only notable absences for the Nets, as a third incumbent, Spencer Dinwiddie, was not fielded. And for good reason, the point guard was the victim of a partial rupture of a cruciate ligament in the right knee on Sunday, against Charlotte, and his season is probably over. Without this attacking trio, the Nets relied on Caris LeVert who brought 28 points and 11 assists and on Frenchman Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, who, starting the game, added 21 points with six rebounds and two assists.
Memphis side, Kyle Anderson finished the game with 28 points, scoring especially three decisive free throws in the dying seconds of overtime, after catching the rebound on a three-point shot missed by Nets back Joe Harris. The Grizzlies’ victory tastes bitter as their young star, Ja Morant, injured his left ankle at the end of the first period. The best rookie of last season was injured while attempting a block against Luwawu-Cabarrot, less than three minutes before half-time, twisting his ankle before hopping to the baseline to get out of the field . Led into the locker room, the 21-year-old does not suffer from a fracture and will take additional exams on Tuesday, his team said.
Earlier in the evening, the Atlanta Hawks won their third straight game 128-120 against the Detroit Pistons, led once again by their playmaker Trae Young (29 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists) well assisted by Bogdan Bogdanovic (17 points) off the bench.
In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers, defending champions, lost for the second time in four matches, this time beaten by the Portland Trail Blazers (115-107) who took their revenge, four months after their elimination in the 1st round of the 2020 play-offs (4-1).
Damian Lillard (31 pts) and Gary Trent Jr. (28 pts, including seven three-point baskets) were the Blazers’ top scorers, while LeBron James scored 29 points, delivered 6 assists and took 9 rebounds for the Lakers, and that Anthony Davis did not shine (13 pts, including two before the break).
“When they launched their attacks, we were not able to counter them with the same energy that had animated us at the start of the game,” said Frank Vogel, the coach of the Lakers who had started the game well by leading quickly. 13 points in the first quarter.
The Houston Rockets, decimated by the absences of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon and Mason Jones all positive for Covid-19, fell against the Nuggets, winners 124-111 in Denver where their pivot Nikola Jokic signed a triple double ( 19 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists).
Utah, thanks to 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks from Rudy Gobert and especially a basket from Donovan Mitchell seven seconds from the siren, beat Oklahoma City 110-109 on the wire. Jazz took control of the Western Conference with this second victory in three matches.
The results of the night:
Brooklyn-Memphis 111-116 (ap)
LA Lakers-Portland 107-115
Oklahoma City-Utah 109-110