Forward Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) will travel and is listed as questionable.
Garnett was supposed to return Monday night against the Toronto Raptors, but his back tightened up and he was seen walking gingerly to his car at halftime.
The Nets (32-30) have gone 5-1 without Garnett in the lineup.
The Nets beat the two-time defending NBA champions by a point in their home opener on Nov. 1 then dispatched of Miami in double overtime on Jan. 10 at Barclays Center.
The two teams meet again Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, and the Nets figure it’s going to be a battle.
Added Deron Williams: “Another big game. We beat them twice at home, so we know they’re gonna want revenge.”
Perhaps the Nets are getting the Heat at the right time, though. After all, Miami did just wrap up a playoff spot Monday night.
Factor in that Brooklyn is one of the hottest teams in the league, having won six of its last seven games, and who knows? It sure would be something if the Nets (32-30) could win the season series against the Heat (44-17).
LeBron James averaged 31.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 57.5 percent shooting in the first two meetings. Livingston could get the assignment of guarding him, but he won’t be defending King James by his lonesome.
“I don’t think just one person can try to stop LeBron,” Williams said. “I think it’s a total team effort. You watch the Chicago game and it wasn’t just Jimmy Butler. It was their whole team. You have to pay a lot of attention to him, but at the same time, they’ve got so many great players; it’s just tough.”
The fact that Brooklyn may again be without Kevin Garnett (back) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) could make it that much tougher.
Still, at this point, the Nets know every game is crucial. Only three games separate sixth-seeded Brooklyn and third-seeded/Atlantic Division-leading Toronto (35-27) in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“Every game right now, every game is big,” Paul Pierce said. “We’ve got 20 games left. Every game means something as far as moving up in the standings. Where you’re going to be, how you’re going to position yourself either for home court or going on the road in the first round, so all these games are huge.
“Everybody is so clumped up together, outside of Miami and Indiana. You see Washington, you see Chicago, you see us right there, and Toronto also. All those four teams change week by week right now, so it’s up to us to get ourselves in the best position possible come the playoffs.”
The Nets (32-30) trail the Raptors (35-27) by three games with 20 games left
Here’s an updated breakdown of both teams’ remaining schedules:
Brooklyn: 10 home, 10 away, five back-to-backs
The Nets have six more games left against teams with winning records: Miami (x2), Washington, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston
Toronto: 11 home, nine away, four back-to-backs
The Raptors also have six more games left against teams with winning records: Memphis, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Miami, Houston and Indiana
In the event that Brooklyn and Toronto end up with the same record at the end of the season, it would go to the second tiebreaker -- division record -- because the season-series finished 2-2. The Raptors currently hold the edge over the Nets, 8-3 to 7-5.
Both teams play 16 games against the Atlantic, so Brooklyn is going to need a little help there, too.
It definitely can be done, though.
Question: Do you think the Nets can win the Atlantic? Let us know in the comments section.
In case you missed it: You missed a dandy. The Nets didn’t have Kevin Garnett, but they did have Paul Pierce, who ended up hitting a huge 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to give Brooklyn a 101-97 victory over Toronto.
Stat right? The Nets have not lost at the Barclays Center since Jan. 31 (8-0).
Up next: The Nets are off Tuesday before facing the two-time defending champion Heat on Wednesday night in Miami
NEW YORK -- There was no need for a conversation.
Jason Kidd seemed certain Paul Pierce was going to miss Monday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors due to a sore right shoulder. But the 36-year-old veteran told his coach otherwise.
In Pierce’s mind, there was never any doubt. Given what was at stake, he was going to play.
"I told [Kidd], 'I'm playing.' It’s as simple as that," Pierce said. "He asked me, and I told him, 'Yeah. I'm in.'
“I knew the implications of this game. Maybe if it was a different type of game [I would have sat out], but this was one of our biggest games of the year against a division rival. There was a lot on the line, so you can always pencil me into those types of games."
Then, as he has done many times throughout his career, Pierce made the big shot in the big moment.
With 1:14 remaining and the shot clock winding down, Pierce snapped a 94-all tie with a 3-pointer from the right wing, and the Nets went on to squeak by the Raptors 101-97 in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Barclays Center that provided a playoff-caliber atmosphere.
“I said it before, he’s a competitor,” Kidd said of Pierce. “No matter what position he plays, no matter what his health condition is, he’s out there trying to help the team -- and he was big tonight.”
The Nets (32-30) now have won eight straight games at home and moved within three games of the Raptors (35-27) in the division standings with 20 games remaining.
Brooklyn and Toronto split their season series at two wins apiece, but the Raptors hold the second tiebreaker by virtue of their 8-3 record against the Atlantic compared to the Nets’ 7-5 mark versus division foes.
Still, there is hope -- hope that probably wouldn’t have existed had they lost Monday night.
“It was big,” said Pierce, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. “I was telling the guys before the game, if we lose this game, there’s probably no chance we have a chance to win the Atlantic Division. ... So it was a huge game knowing that we still have a chance to win the division and still have a chance to move up as a seed. Plus, this could be a team we could face in the first round.”
Remember when Pierce looked stunned as he sat at the podium after being traded?
Seems like ages ago. Throughout the final period, he was fired up, encouraging the 17,351 fans in attendance as they encouraged him.
Pierce’s heart might always be in Boston -- the place where he spent the first 15 years of his career -- but Monday night his mind was in Brooklyn, clearly focused on the task at hand.
“It was unbelievable, man,” Pierce said of the atmosphere. “Now we know. You Brooklyn fans, you can’t go below that anymore. That’s the expectation. Our crowd was unbelievable tonight. That’s probably the best I’ve heard all year. It was a playoff atmosphere; they were in it from start to finish. And I really feed off those types of crowds, it brings energy, it brings momentum to your ballclub and we love it.”
The Nets went into Monday night’s game knowing they wouldn’t have Andrei Kirilenko (sprained right ankle). And just minutes before tipoff, Kevin Garnett was scratched from the lineup, his back having tightened up. But Brooklyn was able to prevail despite falling behind by as many as 12 in the first quarter and losing a 13-point lead in the third.
Deron Williams scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, while Shaun Livingston also scored 18 points and came up with a huge steal with 25 seconds left. Joe Johnson added 14 points, while Alan Anderson came off the bench to notch 11. The Nets shot 48.6 percent from the field and finished 11-for-20 from 3-point range after starting 1-for-7.
They turned 16 Toronto turnovers into 18 points and were outrebounded only 37-30, which is quite good for them. Kidd decided to play Mason Plumlee and Andray Blatche at the same time -- something he never does -- in order to negate the Raptors’ size advantage. And it worked. Sorta.
“We tried to battle back,” Williams said. “We didn’t start off the game well. Our defense was nonexistent, and they were kind of getting whatever they wanted in that first quarter; pick-and-rolls were hurting us. We made some adjustments, really just played a little harder, gave more effort, and I think that was the difference in the second half.”
The Nets wanted to win Monday night’s game because they felt like they gave away their latest loss to the Raptors on Jan. 27, when Williams had two turnovers in the final minute, which resulted in a 104-103 defeat.
"It was big," Plumlee said. “Just how we gave the game away last time, and that’s what we did, we gave it away. We’ve played them close every time. It could be a potential matchup in the playoffs, so it was big for us to set a tone.”
Pierce described his game-winning shot.
“I drove the ball at first, found D-Will, and I actually thought he had a shot,” Pierce said. “Once he drove again, I just flared out to the 3-point line, so saw the shot clock winding down and I was able to make the shot off his penetration.”
Just how has he been able to make the big shot in the big moment again and again?
“I think it’s just confidence. I’ve been that way since I was 2 years old,” Pierce joked. “I remember my first game winner at 8 months old, so it just grew from there.”
NEW YORK -- Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston each scored 18 points and an ailing Paul Pierce hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 101-97 victory over the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
Pierce finished with 15 points and Joe Johnson added 14 for the Nets, who won their season-high eighth straight at home. Brooklyn moved three games behind Toronto in the Atlantic.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points to lead Toronto, which had won nine of its previous 11.
The Nets trailed 94-92 after Lowry split the defense in the lane for a lay-up with 2:15 left.
Brooklyn then answered with five straight points as Andray Blatche's reverse lay-up tied the score at 94 and Pierce followed with a 3-pointer.
NEW YORK -- What a game. What a playoff-like atmosphere.
Although Jason Kidd didn’t expect Paul Pierce to play on Monday night, Pierce told his coach he was suiting up -- and it’s a good thing he did.
Pierce snapped a 94-all tie by hitting a 3-pointer with 1:14 left, and the Brooklyn Nets won their eighth straight home game 101-97 over the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center.
Shaun Livingston came up with a steal with 25 seconds remaining to preserve the win. Kyle Lowry had a chance to tie the game, but he missed a 3 with 10 seconds left.
What it means: The Nets (32-30) trail the Raptors (35-27) by just three games in the standings with 20 games remaining. The season series ends tied up at 2-2, which means if the two teams are tied in the standings at the end of the season, the tiebreaker would be division record: Toronto is currently 8-3, Brooklyn is 7-5.
Deron Williams was sensational, shaking off a slow start to pour in 18 points -- 12 in the second half.
Livingston also had 18 points, while Pierce had 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Joe Johnson had 14 points, while Alan Anderson chipped in 11 off the bench.
The Nets shot 48.6 percent from the field and finished 11-for-20 from 3-point range after a 1-for-7 start.
Game of runs: Williams and Johnson gave the Nets a 13-point lead in the third when they knocked down four consecutive 3-pointers, encompassing a 12-0 run. The Raptors countered with an 11-0 run of their own, but Marcus Thornton drained a 3-pointer and the Nets led 78-73 heading into the fourth.
Brooklyn trailed by as many as 12 early -- falling behind 30-19 after the first quarter. But the Nets outscored the Raptors 31-21 in the second, and it was 51-50 Toronto at the half.
Walking wounded: The Nets were without Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko. Garnett was expected to return but was scratched just minutes before tipoff. He has missed six straight games due to back spasms. Kirilenko was out with a sprained right ankle.
Up next: The Nets face the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena
As the Nets were about to play the second half of a huge game against the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, Garnett was in street clothes and about to leave the building.
Garnett was supposed to start the game and make his return from injury, but the Nets announced just minutes before the tip that the 37-year-old veteran had been scratched, presumably because his back spasms had flared up again.
Garnett has missed six straight games as a result of the injury.
“He tightened up, so we pulled the plug on him,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said after his team’s 101-97 win over the Toronto Raptors. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Garnett was set to make his return after missing the last five games due to back spams, but it didn’t happen.
During halftime, Garnett was spotted walking gingerly to his Range Rover SUV in the bowels of the Barclays Center. He was in street clothes and left the building shortly thereafter.
The Nets were also without Andrei Kirilenko (sprained right ankle).
It is unknown if either player will be available for Wednesday night’s clash against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, but Kirilenko said he does hope to play in that game.
Garnett, 37, is averaging 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Nets (32-30) on 43.9 percent shooting this season, though his numbers have been much better since 2014.
The Nets have gone 5-1 in Garnett’s most recent absence, relying on the likes of Mason Plumlee, Andray Blatche and Jason Collins.
• The Nets are 15-2 in their last 17 games at Barclays Center. ... They are 22-9 overall since Jan. 1. ... They are 30-1 when leading after three quarters. ... Paul Pierce became just the fifth player in NBA history with 1,900 career 3-pointers. ... The Nets are 24-5 when scoring 100-plus points. Brooklyn has won 10 straight games when scoring 100 or more points.
The implications: The Nets (31-30) trail the Raptors (35-26) by four games in the standings with 21 games remaining. Brooklyn is riding a seven-game home winning streak, but has lost two of its first three against Toronto this season. The Nets should’ve beaten the Raptors the last time the two teams faced each other on Jan. 27, but Deron Williams had two turnovers in the final minute, which led to a 104-103 Raptors win. Given how easy Toronto’s schedule is the rest of the way, Brooklyn needs this game.
Walking wounded: Kevin Garnett (back) has missed the last five games, while Paul Pierce (shoulder) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) both left Sunday night’s victory over Sacramento due to injury. It’s unknown if any of them will play Monday night, which could leave the Nets extremely shorthanded in the frontcourt.
Surging Raps: The Raptors have won nine of their last 11 games. Kyle Lowry (16.8 ppg, 7.7 apg) and DeMar DeRozan (22.7 ppg) have been carrying the load, while Terrence Ross (10.7 ppg) has emerged as a threat since the Rudy Gay trade. Jonas Valanciunas (10.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg) is a tough cover for the Nets, and that’s where Jason Collins could come into play. Collins played really good defense on DeMarcus Cousins Sunday night, and has given Dwight Howard fits in the past.
Strange but true: The Nets are 5-1 in their last six games. During that span, they are getting outrebounded by an average of 46.3 to 33.8. But they’ve made up for that by collecting an average of 14.2 steals -- most in the NBA.
“We dropped two to them,” Williams said, referencing the team’s 1-2 record versus Toronto. “We need it. We’re chasing them in the standings. They’re at the top of our division right now.”
The Nets (31-30) trail the first-place Raptors (35-26) by four games in the Atlantic Division standings with 21 games left.
Brooklyn should’ve beaten Toronto the most recent time the two teams met, but Williams committed two turnovers in the final minute and the Nets ended up throwing away a win.
Monday’s game marks the beginning of a huge stretch for the Nets, who face playoff-bound Miami (Wednesday) and Washington (Friday) on the road later in the week.
Brooklyn has won seven in a row at home, but is also 4-10 in the second game of back-to-backs.
And who knows who’s going to be available for the Nets, given the uncertain injury statuses of Kevin Garnett (back), Paul Pierce (shoulder) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle).
Given how easy Toronto’s schedule is the rest of the way, the Nets need this one, like Williams said, in order to make up some valuable ground.
Question: How do you think the Nets will do Monday night? Let us know in the comments section.
Stat so: The Nets had an NBA-season low one offensive rebound Sunday night. Overall, they were outrebounded 53-27, but they registered 14 steals. That's the sixth straight time they’ve had as many as 12 steals in a game.
“It’s a trade-off we’re going to have to live with,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s not just tonight, that’s been the whole season -- actually since the new year started. We have to find a way, since we’re not a very good rebounding team, to create opportunities and that’s by forcing turnovers.”
The Nets are 11-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better from the field; 13-0 when holding their opponents to less than 90 points; 23-5 when scoring 100-plus points; and they’ve won 23 in a row when leading at the half.
Up next: Nets versus Raptors at Barclays Center
The streaky shooting guard had a team-high 27 points in the Brooklyn Nets’ 104-89 win over the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center.
“There’s not many guys that can do what he does,” Deron Williams said. “He comes in, he hits one and then it’s like NBA Jam. He’s on fire.”
Thornton admitted recently that he doesn’t know all the plays just yet. Not so, according to his coach, Jason Kidd.
“There are plays, he knows them -- it’s called ‘shoot it,’” Kidd joked. “He reminds me of Eddie House, someone I played with in the league. Quick release, threat behind the arc, but can also get to the basket. He’s played extremely well since the trade and he gives us another weapon offensively. But again, defensively he’s been someone that’s helped us rebound the ball on both ends.”
In Thornton’s past five outings, he has scored 25, 3, 20, 4 and 27 points -- giving the Nets a much-needed spark every other game.
“Anytime you see the ball go through the net, you get a confidence about yourself,” Thornton said. “I credit my teammates for finding me in spots I can be effective in. And you know, my shots were going down.”
As for beating the Kings, Thornton said it was good to see his “homeboys,” but he just wanted to help his team win.
And that’s exactly what he did.
NEW YORK -- Marcus Thornton scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter against his old team and Joe Johnson added 18 points, helping the Brooklyn Nets overcome an injury to Paul Pierce in a 104-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
Brooklyn led by 16 points in the first half after losing Pierce to a right shoulder injury in the early minutes of the first quarter.
Sacramento trailed 49-40 at halftime and then opened the third quarter with a 17-8 run to tie the score at 57-all with 7:38 left in the period.
However, Brooklyn outscored Sacramento 47-32 the rest of the way.
It’s definitely a concern right now.
The Nets, who were already without Kevin Garnett for a fifth straight game due to back spasms, lost both Paul Pierce (sore right shoulder) and Andrei Kirilenko (sprained right ankle) to injury in their 104-89 blowout victory over the Sacramento Kings Sunday night at Barclays Center.
With critical games coming up against Toronto, Miami and Washington this week, this isn’t good. Better hope those guys are OK.
What it means: The Nets (31-30) won their seventh straight game at home -- matching a season high. They are 14-2 in their past 16 at home, 16-2 in their past 18 against sub-.500 teams. It was a nice way to rebound from their poor performance Friday night in Boston.
Marcus Thornton led the way in his first game against his former team, scoring 27 points -- including 13 straight bridging the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth. He has scored 20 or more points three times in his first seven games with Brooklyn. He had three 20-plus-point games in 46 games with Sacramento.
Joe Johnson had 11 of his 18 points in the third quarter.
As per usual, the Nets were destroyed on the backboards (53-27) but turned 25 Kings turnovers into 27 points. They shot 53.2 percent from the field and went 12-for-25 from 3-point range, a game after they went 4-for-30 against the Celtics.
Brooklyn led by as many as 25 after throwing away a 16-point lead early in the third.
My Cousin DeMarcus: DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 20 rebounds. Jason Collins, who played a season-high 20 minutes and recorded his second field goal as a Net, played excellent defense on Cousins, and the Sacramento center picked up his fourth foul with 3:15 left and the Kings trailing 67-61. It may have been the turning point of the game.
Debut: Jorge Gutierrez, recently signed to a 10-day contract, became the fourth native of Mexico to play in a game in NBA history. He scored his first career point on a free throw with 9.6 seconds left. The crowd liked it.
Circus shot of the game: How crafty was that second-quarter scoop by Mirza Teletovic? Agreed. It was very crafty.
Return of Reggie: Former Net Reggie Evans had three points and seven rebounds in his first game as a Barclays Center visitor.
Up next: The Nets face the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors Monday night in the second half of a rare home back-to-back.
"They're both day to day, so we'll see how they feel tomorrow," Nets coach Jason Kidd said.
Pierce was forced to leave the game due to a sore right shoulder, and the team later announced he would not return. Pierce re-injured his shoulder 1:13 into the first quarter while defending Kings forward Jason Thompson.
He looked to be in agony as he headed into the locker room. Pierce has been dealing with what he called a "stinger" in his right shoulder, which forced him to come out briefly the last two games.
"It's been a problem for me throughout the last few years," Pierce said Friday night. "It's weak right now, so whenever I get hit in that shoulder ... just with the constant years of banging, especially now that I'm playing the 4. So it's a quick stinger."
Kirilenko said he sprained his right ankle in the first quarter when he stepped on point guard Deron Williams' foot. He tried to continue, but was forced to leave the game in the third quarter.
"I don't think it's serious," Kirilenko said. "We'll see tomorrow. Usually the next day is a crucial day, so we'll see how it feels in the morning."
The Nets face the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors on Monday night in a critical matchup.
Final Philadelphia 110 New York 123 Final Toronto 97 Brooklyn 101
7:00 PM ET NY Rangers Carolina 7:00 PM ET New Jersey Philadelphia
7:00 PM ET Butler Seton Hall 7:00 PM ET South Florida Rutgers 7:00 PM ET Fordham George Mason
8:00 PM ET NY Rangers Winnipeg 7:00 PM ET San Jose NY Islanders 7:30 PM ET New Jersey Florida