WHO PLAYS? Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko have all been out with injuries. The first four missed the team’s last game Saturday night in Los Angeles, while Kirilenko did not travel on the West Coast trip due to back spasms. Williams (left), Lopez (left) and Garnett (right) all have sprained ankles. Pierce has a sore left groin.
OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT: The Nets are tied for 21st in offensive efficiency. Lopez and Pierce are off to pretty good starts, but Williams, Garnett and Johnson (aside from his game-winner in Phoenix) have struggled. D-Will’s PER remains below the league average, Garnett is shooting 30 percent from the field, while Johnson has missed 32 of his last 46 shots.
BLAZING A TRAIL: The Blazers (8-2), who have won six straight, are off to an extremely impressive start. Portland ranks third in the NBA in offensive efficiency and fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage (42). LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 22.2 points and 9.3 rebounds on 48.1 percent shooting. Damian Lillard is continuing where he left off as a rookie, averaging 20.1 points and 5.8 assists, though he’s shooting just 39.4 percent from the floor.