The Trail Blazers, in need of as many wins as possible while striving to avoid the play-in tournament, have caught another huge break with respect to opposing personnel.
The Brooklyn Nets have announced that Kevin Durant will officially miss Friday night's game against Portland due to management of his left hamstring injury.
The two-time Finals MVP was dominant in his short-handed team's win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, dropping 44 points and 10 assists on 16-of-24 shooting despite playing without James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Steve Nash hinted after the game that Durant would likely rest on the second leg of Brooklyn's back-to-back, but didn't fully commit either way.
Durant's absence comes as no surprise considering the litany of injuries he's dealt with in 2020-21, his first season back from a torn Achilles that caused him to miss a full league year. He's played in just 27 games this season, sitting out nearly a two calendar months beginning in mid-February after first suffering that nagging left hamstring injury.
The 32-year-old has been as dominant as ever when healthy enough to take the floor, averaging 27.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists despite playing just 32.6 minutes per game, a career-low. His 68.3 true shooting percentage ranks first in the league among high-usage players, a historical outlier the likes of which the NBA has never seen.
Needless to say, Portland''s chances of knocking off Brooklyn on the road rise exponentially given Durant's status, not to mention the absence of James Harden. As they've made forcefully clear all season, though, the Nets are good enough to beat quality foes with just a singular superstar available, and Kyrie Irving is set to play against the Blazers.
Portland and Brooklyn tipoff at 5:00 p.m. (PST).