Injured Brooklyn center Jeff Green isn’t expected to be re-evaluated until at least Sunday. The fact that he hasn’t already been ruled out of Saturday’s Eastern Conference semifinal Game 1 against Milwaukee can only be considered positive.
Especially considering the Nets are certainly going to need every able body they can muster against Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Really just monitoring him. We’ll see. Keep monitoring it day-to-day and see if he’s ready to go,” coach Steve Nash said of Green. “He’s definitely progressing but we can’t commit either way if he’s available or not available for Saturday.”
Green has a left plantar fascia strain, with Nash having said the veteran big man would get examined in 10 days, which would be Sunday. Though there’s certainly no guarantee he’s ready for Saturday, the fact he’s even in the picture for the series — much less Game 1 — is encouraging.
The second-round matchup is between the two most potent offenses in the league, and with two Big 3s going against each other, could be an all-time classic.
“It could be. And who knows at this point. But there’s no question the potential is there,” Nash said. “We’ll see how it plays out. But they’re playing as well as any team in the league right now, and we have the talent to match any team in the league. It’s just a matter of who performs, who has that grit and toughness to try to get ahead in this series and then see how the other team responds.”
“But definitely on paper you could see this being a classic series.”
The Nets dropped the season series to Milwaukee 2-1, though they didn’t have their Big 3 complete for any of the matchups while the Bucks had their trio together for all of them.
Antetokounmpo tormented Brooklyn, averaging 39.7 points, 10.7 boards and five assists. But the Nets are going to look like a very different team, with James Harden having missed both of the two losses last month in Milwaukee.
DeAndre Jordan started at center in the Greek Freak’s 49-point outburst, but he’s now out of the rotation. Meanwhile, Nic Claxton — Brooklyn’s most switchable and mobile big — didn’t appear in the first two meetings and logged just five minutes in the last, his return after missing eight straight games with COVID-19. He and Kevin Durant can provide the Nets much-needed length.
“When me and KD are both on the court at the same time, our length and the way we can affect the game in that way,” Claxton said. “It gives us a lot of teams trouble and cleans a lot of mistakes from guys out there. I’ve seen that since we’ve been out there.
“But we’re talking a lot about Giannis, but they have to stop us, too. We have the best players in the world, so it’s going to be a good matchup. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”