Players returning from injuries or offseason surgery normally sit out a portion of a back-to-back set, but the way Brooklyn's Seth Curry performed Sunday afternoon against the Portland Trail Blazers might make it a harder-than-usual decision for the Nets.
After Curry's 29 points and seven 3-pointers helped the Nets successfully start their season-high seven-game homestand, Brooklyn will attempt to reach the .500 mark for the second time this season when it hosts the Orlando Magic on the back end of a back-to-back on Monday night.
Brooklyn is attempting to reach .500 for the first time since it beat Toronto in the second game of the season after getting blown out by New Orleans in the season opener. The Nets were one game under .500 twice last week but followed both instances with losses (in Philadelphia and Indiana).
After collapsing in the fourth quarter Friday, Curry helped the Nets pull away in the final 12 minutes of Sunday's 111-97 victory over the Blazers. He scored 13 points in the quarter, including 11 in the time Kevin Durant spent getting a rest.
The 29 points was Curry's highest total in 30 regular-season games since becoming a Net along with Ben Simmons in the trade for James Harden. Following offseason ankle surgery, Curry is averaging 11.4 points a game and shooting 43.9 percent (25-of-57) from 3-point range.
"You see the confidence that he has in his shot and the rhythm that he started to regain just from not playing and, you know, having offseason surgery, so it adds a dynamic to our group just because of the pace that we can play with," Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Curry played 18 minutes in his season debut Oct. 29, he and scored 22 points on the front end of a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 12 before sitting the next night against the Lakers.
"Increasing his minutes, which is good, and next stage hopefully he's playing back-to-backs," Vaughn said. "I'm hoping so."
Whether Curry plays or not, the Nets hope to follow one of their better defensive efforts of the season. Brooklyn allowed 40 points after halftime and allowed 36.8 percent shooting from the floor in the second half.
Orlando will try to avoid matching a season high with its fifth straight loss and is 1-6 over its past seven games. Since allowing 87 and 97 points in consecutive wins over Dallas and Phoenix Nov. 9-11, Orlando is allowing an average of 117.4 points on 50.3 percent shooting from the field.
Orlando's latest loss also was its most lopsided, as the Magic allowed 72 points in the paint and tied a team record by allowing 64.9 percent shooting in a 133-103 home setback to Philadelphia on Sunday night.
"We didn't play any (defense)," Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. "That's the reality of it right there."
While rookie Paolo Banchero scored 18 points in his second game following a seven-game absence due to a sprained left ankle, Orlando had little else to help the top overall pick of the 2022 draft.
Jalen Suggs sat out with an ankle injury, Wendell Carter Jr. missed a fourth straight game with a foot injury, and Markelle Fultz had his season debut pushed back to at least Wednesday due to a fractured toe. The Magic also lost Mo Bamba to back spasms and Terrence Ross to an illness, though both could play Monday.
--Field Level Media