The Portland Trail Blazers have been in incredible form in recent games. With CJ McCollum returning to the lineup, they have won four of their last six games.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will continue to be without Kyrie Irving for this matchup, as he is unavailable due to personal reasons. He hasn't accompanied the team on their three-game road trip.
Nevertheless, the Brooklyn Nets have been one of the teams to beat in the league this season. Many analysts have predicted them to reach the NBA Finals without much resistance.
A lot of credit for the same goes to James Harden for his exceptional performances; he has done an incredible job holding down the fort till Kevin Durant returns from a hamstring injury.
Brooklyn Nets vs Portland Trail Blazers prediction
The Brooklyn Nets would normally be favorites to win this matchup,p given their sheer offensive firepower. However, given the absence of Kyrie Irving, the Portland Trail Blazers will fancy their chances of a win.
James Harden has been performing at an MVP level this season. Although Irving and Durant will not suit up, the Brooklyn Nets have a good chance to beat the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Brooklyn Nets are 15-3 when Harden has played with either Irving or Durant. But they are 2-2 when 'The Beard' has featured without Irving and Durant. Nevertheless, Harden has a knack for excellent playmaking and can create open looks for his teammates.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers have performed amazingly this season. Damian Lillard has done a marvellous job in taking the team to sixth in the Western Conference despite the absence of Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and CJ McCollum for large swathes of the season.
Nevertheless, a thriller could ensue at the Moda Center when the two teams will collide, with the point guard battle of Lillard and Harden likely to be one to watch out for.
On that note, let's take a look at a hypothetical combined five of the Brooklyn Nets and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Brooklyn Nets vs Portland Trail Blazers Combined 5
Point Guard - Damian Lillard | Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum | Small Forward - James Harden | Power Forward - Joe Harris | Center - DeAndre Jordan.
Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the league. He has taken his game to a whole new level this season.
Lillard is averaging a career-high 30.3 points per game this campaign, doing so on 56% shooting from the floor. He is regarded as one of the most clutch players in the league, as he seems to sink game-winners night after night for the Trail Blazers.
Meanwhile, Lillard's backcourt partner, CJ McCollum, has always been one of the most consistent players for the Portland Trail Blazers.
McCollum has averaged 22 points per game since the past six years but has unfortunately never made an All-Star team. He has been one of the most overlooked players in the league. Although he has played only 17 games this season, McCollum is averaging a career-high 24.3 points a night on 56% shooting for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Meanwhile, James Harden's versatile skillset make it possible for him to play multiple positions, although he features at point guard for the Brooklyn Nets. Harden is the only player averaging double-digit assists (11.3) this season. He has put on a triple-double clinic this season, tallying an incredible 11 triple-doubles in 29 games for the Brooklyn Nets.
Harden's teammate Joe Harris has been on fire from beyond the arc this season. He is shooting at an incredibly high 48.7% from the three-point range for the Brooklyn Nets.
Harris is the standard set shooter for the team, waiting beyond the arc and attempting catch-and-shoot threes; most of his attempts are from the three-point line. He has played as a power forward for the Brooklyn Nets team this season, doing a great job while playing alongside Irving, Durant and Harden.
Veteran DeAndre Jordan will play at center in this hypothetical combined starting five. He is leading the team in rebounds and blocks, fulfilling his role quite well for the Brooklyn Nets. He has consistently averaged one of the highest FG% in the league, as he takes fewer shots and most of his attempts are under the rim.