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Injuries to make an impact when Suns meet Nets

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Injuries to make an impact when Suns meet Nets

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Kyrie Irving’s status may not be known until his near playing time when he is a Brooklyn Networks visit Phoenix Suns Thursday night.

Irving was bothered by right calf soreness and got scratched before Tuesday’s 106-98 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the opening game of a five-game road trip.

Brooklyn head coach Jack Vaughn hoped Irving would not require an MRI scan and not expect a long-term absence.

In fact, Vaughn hopes Irving will sue Phoenix, who has fallen back 12 of their last 14 games.

“I just reported a little distress,” Vaughn said of Irving’s injury. “It’s basically just a day to day… hopefully this is in the short term.”

Irving’s absence against Tottenham also marked the third consecutive game without Kevin Durant (knee). Brooklyn is down to 0-3 since the Durant loss.

The Nets scored just 15 points in the first quarter against the Spurs and 17 in the third quarter. They made 21 turnovers and were 3-of-23 (13 percent) from 3-point range.

The setback without their two stars reminded some Brooklyn players of last season.

There was a point when Durant and Irving were both out of the lineup and the third star, James Harden, was heartbroken by the situation. Irving recently fired the now-departed Harden and teammate Nick Claxton handed him over after losing to the Spurs.

“Last year … was kind of a toxic environment,” Claxton told reporters. “We didn’t know if everyone wanted to be here at that time. This year, it makes no difference who everyone is there. We’ll find out.”

TJ Warren scored a team-high 19 points in the loss against San Antonio.

The Suns are in a deep free fall linked to the absence of guard Devin Booker, who remains sidelined with a groin injury.

Booker has missed the last 11 games and the Suns have only gone 3-13 without their star player this season.

Phoenix opens a five-game home run after being pummeled by the host Memphis Grizzlies 136-106 on Monday.

In addition to Booker, the Suns were without Chris Paul (hip) and Cameron Payne (foot) and lost Josh Okoji (nose) during the game. They were also without Cameron Johnson (knee), who was injured on November 4, but is due back on Thursday.

“We just have to regroup and go home,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “This has been a tough, tough stretch for us on a number of fronts. Wins and losses. Injuries. And we lost (Okogie) and he was playing on his tail. So you just have to pack it up, go home and get ready for the next one.”

Paul is dubious and in danger of losing his sixth straight game. Payne, his assistant, would sit out the seventh straight game.

The loss to the Grizzlies was one of two blowouts in a four-game trip. The Phoenix were defeated 126-97 by the Denver Nuggets on January 11.

Michael Bridges scored 21 points and DeAndre Eaton had 18 points against Memphis. The Sun was outscored 68-41 in the second half.

Phoenix swept two games from the Nets last season. Booker averaged 32.5 points.

–Field Argument Level

Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and the Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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