PREVIEW: Brooklyn Nets look to extend win streak vs. visiting Mavs

By Field Level Media
Feb 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) talks with forward Kevin Durant (7) during a free throw attempt by the Nets against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Brooklyn Nets won nine in a row, it was part of a franchise-record-tying, 14-game winning streak in 2005-06, highlighted by Jason Kidd getting triple-doubles and connecting with Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter.

The Nets will attempt to push the NBA’s longest active streak to nine games on Saturday night when they host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

The Nets are trying to get to nine straight wins for the sixth time in franchise history. They had an 11-game run during the 1982-83 season, then four streaks of 10-plus from 2002 to 2006 during the Kidd era, which Kyrie Irving grew up watching in New Jersey.

Irving factored in the latest win, a 129-92 dismantling of the Orlando Magic on Thursday. He collected 27 points and nine assists on a night when the Nets trailed by 10 in the first quarter but outscored the Magic 105-64 in the final 36 minutes.

“A big part of it is our group’s bonding,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “They’re growing together. They’re starting to feel success and roles are shoring up and you can sense it out there that they are having more fun, that they are connected offensively and defensively, that they have a lot more poise together.”

Read More: RECAP: Kyrie Irving paces Nets’ rout of Magic

Irving’s performance was part of a game in which six Nets hit double figures, including James Harden (20 points) and Landry Shamet (19 points). The Nets shot 53.3 percent and hit 20 3-pointers, marking the 17th time they shot 50 percent and third time they made at least 20 3-pointers.

“It’s a total team effort,” Irving said. “We just want to stay collectively aligned on the same goal, and that’s just to play to a certain level that we can all commit to. We all hold each other accountable, and we all want to have that consistency and have fun doing so.”

During the longest run of the Brooklyn era, the Nets are averaging 122.4 points and shooting 51.4 percent, including 43.3 percent from 3-point range.

The Nets have been rolling despite the absence of Kevin Durant (strained left hamstring). Durant has missed the past six games since Feb. 13 at Golden State and is expected to be out until the All-Star break.

Dallas is 7-3 since a six-game skid from Jan. 22-Feb. 3. The Mavericks were held under 100 points for the fourth time this season and first time since Jan. 18 when they absorbed a 111-97 loss Thursday in Philadelphia.

Related: NBA playoff predictions -From top seeds to bracket & Finals

Dallas shot 41 percent, matching its third-worst shooting performance of the season, and the Mavericks committed a season-high 22 turnovers.

“The ball stuck early in the game, which made it difficult to get good shots,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Also, when a lot of people aren’t involved, it takes down the energy of the team. That’s one of the things we’ve got to work on between now and when we play Saturday.”

Doncic had a disappointing game, finishing with 19 points and a season-low four assists. He was held under 20 points for the fourth time this season, two nights after his game-winning 3-pointer against the Boston Celtics capped a 31-point effort.

“We just didn’t play with energy,” said Doncic, who committed seven turnovers Thursday. “It didn’t look like us out there. We just didn’t bring the energy.”

Dallas produced one of its worst games as Kristaps Porzingis sat for the third straight contest due to lower back tightness. Porzingis, who is averaging 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds, practiced Friday and might return to action in Brooklyn.

“If he’s able to play (Saturday), which I’m anticipating is likely, this will be a great challenge for his first game back in a while,” Carlisle said.

Related: NBA games today – TV schedule, best bets and fantasy picks

–Field Level Media