ORLANDO, Fla. — Nic Claxton missed his eighth straight game Wednesday, a 123-90 Nets win over the Magic. But the young big man rejoined the Nets in Florida on Tuesday night and at least began his ramp-up with an eye toward returning to the court.
With games Friday at New Orleans then Sunday in Oklahoma City to wrap up this season-long road swing, coach Steve Nash said it’s unlikely Claxton plays before the Nets return home. But after being out for two weeks with a non-COVID illness, at least he’s moving toward a return.
“I don’t know if it was a disease or what, but he was just ill. I can’t really say more than that,” Nash said. “But he started ramping back up again [Wednesday]. So I don’t know how long that process will take. I think they have to assess where he’s at, and then see how he goes and then we’ll figure out when he can play again.”
“But like I said, with the number of priorities I have right now on my plate, I haven’t discussed a date for him to come back, because I know it’s not [imminent]. But in the next few days, we can kind of have a ballpark [estimate], but right now I have nothing for you else on Nic’s return.”
Claxton hasn’t played since Oct. 25 against Washington..
LaMarcus Aldridge had another vintage outing. He had 21 points, eight boards and shot 9 of 16.
Brooklyn is 6-1 when he scores in double figures.
“He has 20,000 points for a reason. So we like him to be himself, we need him to score and he’s done that,” James Harden said. “We can tell the difference when he’s scoring and when he’s not involved in the game. It’s mostly on me, but it’s our team’s job to make sure he gets touches. Once he gets touches, he’s efficient, but he’s a very good passer as well and gets our shooters shots.”
Nash intimated he’ll keep Aldridge coming off the bench to give that second unit scoring punch.
“Second unit often times the way we’re rotating right now is with Kevin (Durant) and James (Harden) both off the floor. So to have LA anchor us a little bit and give us some shot-making works well for us at the moment,” said Nash. “So yeah he’s been really foundational for that second unit.”
While the Nets were playing in Orlando, Kyrie Irving was attending Seton Hall’s season opener at Prudential Center. Irving is close with Pirate guard Bryce Aiken — who, like Irving attended The Patrick School (it was St. Patrick’s when Irving starred there for coach Kevin Boyle). Irving left Wednesday without talking to reporters.