BROOKLYN – The Brooklyn Nets won a game they were supposed to win, had to win, Sunday night, beating the hapless Sacramento Kings 104-89 in Barclays Center.
The question is: Did they lose forwards Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko for a significant amount of time?
For the second straight game Pierce had to go to the bench after suffering a ‘stinger’ in his right shoulder.
This time he didn’t return.
“It’s been a problem for me throughout the last few years,” Pierce said Friday night after having to leave the Nets loss in Boston.
“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.”
Hopefully it’s a quick recovery because the Nets (31-30) play one of their most important games of the season Monday when they host the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors, who were 34-26 going into their road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, lead the Atlantic Division by four games over the Nets.
Kirilenko suffered a sprained right ankle in the third quarter and left the game.
A ‘stinger’ or ‘burner’ is one of the most painful of injuries. The nerves in the shoulder get stretched or pinched, sending flashes of agonizing pain down the arm. It’s more common in football.
Pierce, who has been the MVP of this team the second half of the season by moving from small to power forward allowing the Nets to be successful playing ‘small ball,’ can’t be replaced.
At 6-7, 235 pounds, he’s big and strong enough to bang on defense with most power forwards, even though he’s giving away size almost every night. On offense he creates matchup nightmares by pulling power forwards away from the basket.
Kevin Garnett missed his fifth straight game with back spasms. Coach Jason Kidd said K.G. looked good on Sunday.
If Kidd and Garnett can’t play, the Nets will face the Raptors without their entire starting frontcourt. Brook Lopez was lost for the season in December with a broken foot.