Nets head coach Steve Nash reacts during the second quarter...

Nets head coach Steve Nash reacts during the second quarter against the Raptors at Barclays Center on Feb. 5. Credit: Jim McIsaac

In a condensed NBA season, practice time is a valuable commodity. That is especially true in the first couple of weeks following the All-Star break because the NBA has applied even more strict COVID-19 medical protocols.

As a result, the Nets practiced in the evening on Wednesday before their Thursday game against the Celtics and practiced Friday evening before their meeting with the Pistons Saturday night at Barclays Center.

First-time coach Steve Nash admitted he prefers early practices because he has a 20-month-old child and routinely gets up around 5:30 to 6:30 am. "I like to get to bed early," Nash said. "These late practices, I don’t think anyone likes them.

"It’s tough for the players because they’ve got to get up to COVID test in the morning, got to come back and COVID test and practice, get up [Saturday] and COVID test, come back and play, get to bed late, come back Sunday and COVID test, practice Sunday evening theoretically [meaning practice might be canceled]. It’s a tough stretch coming out of the All-Star break. If you’re asking me personally, I’d like [to practice] early."

Blake not yet up to speed

While fans might have hoped free agent signee Blake Griffin would make his Nets debut against his former Pistons team Saturday night, it was not to be. Griffin last played on Feb. 12, and sat out his final 10 games with the Pistons before his buyout.

"Blake is out, but we’re basically considering a ramp-up plan for him," Nash said. "He’s had a longer layoff, so how can we get him up to speed and figure out when we can safely integrate him into the group at full speed? Right now, our goal is still going through the assessment stage and figuring out what direction to take." . . . Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot ( right hip contusion) also remains out. "I’m not concerned," Nash said. "I think he’ll be back relatively soon. You’ll see him again soon."

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