Nets healthier but still ailing
NEW YORK – Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were back in Brooklyn’s starting lineup Monday night against Portland, but two other injured starters — guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez — remain sidelined.
Garnett shined in a big first period for the Nets before Portland rallied for its seventh consecutive victory, 108-98.
Garnett made his first six shots in a 40-point first period, them went 2-for-13 the rest of the way, finishing with 16 points. Pierce, still slowed by a sore left groin, shot 2-for-12 and scored 11.
Williams and Lopez both sprained their left ankles Friday in a victory at Phoenix. The Nets also are still without reserve forward Andrei Kirilenko because of back spasms.
The Trail Blazers (9-2) moved within a half-game of Indiana and San Antonio for the league’s best record.
• ROARING THUNDER: Kevin Durant scored 38 points and Russell Westbrook had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Oklahoma City Thunder, which rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets 115-113. Westbrook also had seven assists, helping Oklahoma City erase a 14-point deficit in the second half. With the score tied at 105, Serge Ibaka pulled down an offensive rebound and found Durant for a three-pointer that put Oklahoma City (7-3) ahead to stay.
• JEFFERSON IN PAIN: Charlotte center Al Jefferson sat out his third consecutive game — an 86-81 loss to the Bulls — because of a bone bruise in his right ankle. Jefferson averaged 15 points and 8.7 rebounds in his first three games as a Bobcat.
• ROOKIE FINALLY READY: Mavericks point guard Shane Larkin, the No. 18 overall pick in the June draft, was activated Monday for the first time since breaking his right ankle in summer workouts and made his debut in the first quarter of a 97-94 home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Larkin had three points, three assists and three steals in nine minutes.
• HOT CURRY: Stephen Curry’s 22 points and eight assists led Golden State past struggling Utah 98-87.