NBA Basketball

Nets hoping for reinforcements against Celtics

The Brooklyn Nets could get some reinforcements for Wednesday's road game against the Boston Celtics.

Ben Simmons (knee) and T.J. Warren (shin contusion) each missed the team's past two games, but they could be available against Boston.

"Yeah, just hopefully they're ready for Wednesday," Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said before the Nets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 121-104 Monday night. "Both showing signs of progress, which is good. Hopeful for Wednesday."

Simmons has dealt with knee soreness at times this season and sat out Monday's contest as a precaution. He exited in the third quarter of Thursday's loss to Detroit. That was the second game in as many nights for the Nets.

The Nets also have been playing without Kevin Durant, who has been out of the lineup since sustaining an MCL sprain during a victory at Miami on Jan. 8. Brooklyn has gone 4-6 since the injury occurred.

Durant, 34, is averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He's scheduled to be re-evaluated Feb. 7.

The Celtics are dealing with injury issues of their own. Boston has been without point guard Marcus Smart (ankle) for the past four games and has a 1-3 record during that stretch. Boston ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Lakers 125-121 in overtime Saturday night.

Smart, the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, said Monday that he's feeling "OK" but doesn't want to rush his return. Smart is averaging 11.1 points and a career-best 7.2 assists per contest this season.

"I'm here for longevity," he said. "If that means I have to sacrifice a couple games here and there, that's just what we have to do. But I'm getting better. It's taking a little bit longer than expected."

Boston center Robert Williams III was also unavailable for the victory over the Lakers because of a sprained right ankle.

Boston hasn't played since its controversial win against Los Angeles. With the game tied, LeBron James missed a layup that would have handed the Lakers the victory. James contended that he was fouled by Jayson Tatum on the play, and the National Basketball Referees Association later admitted the no-call was a mistake.

"At the end of the day the players decided that game," Boston's Jaylen Brown said. "We made plays down the stretch. They made plays down the stretch. And I thought it was a good game. It was probably one of the greater games in our recent Lakers-Celtics matchup."

Wednesday's matchup will be the third meeting between the Celtics and Nets this season. Tatum had 20 points and 11 rebounds when Boston beat Brooklyn 109-98 on the road Jan. 12. That was Brooklyn's first game after losing Durant to the knee injury. Boston was without Brown, who sat out with hip soreness.

Former Celtic Kyrie Irving scored 24 points to lead the Nets. Simmons was scoreless in the loss, but had 13 assists and nine rebounds.

Boston also beat Brooklyn 103-92 on the road Dec. 4. Brown collected 34 points and 10 rebounds in that victory. Durant led Brooklyn with 31.

The Celtics, who swept the Nets in the first round of the 2021-22 playoffs, have won the past five regular-season games against Brooklyn.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 1, 2023

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