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T.J. Warren showing his defensive prowess for Nets


Three weeks after his return to the court, T.J. Warren said his surgically repaired foot feels strong — and is getting stronger.

“Yeah, my foot was good. It’s convalescing every game,” the Nets forward said. “Each time I’m on the market, I feel like beginning to feel that myself increasingly more and more, definitely.

“Being out two years and coming back, I feel like I’ve been adjusting pretty much, I feel higher than what people want. However it’s at all times room for improvement. I’m still getting my legs under me. So it’s getting increasingly more comfortable on the market.”

Warren had essentially missed two years with multiple stress fractures and two surgeries, before finally coming back Dec. 2. He has been treated with kid gloves by the Nets and has had his minutes managed, but he has shown no rust aside from his 3-point shot. And his defense has been a pleasing surprise. He has hardly lived as much as the repute as a sieve, which he feels was never deserved.

“I’m fully confident in myself. I do know what I can provide for a team. Just being a two-way player, locking in on defense,” said Warren, whose plus-8.1 net rating is on pace for a career-best. “I feel like plenty of people didn’t think I can play defense. I don’t know where that narrative got here from, but I’ve been improving on that end in addition to being a scorer. Just being aggressive after I’m locked in.”

T.J. WarrenCorey Sipkin

Royce O’Neale’s playing time, upon his return from a two-game absence because of personal reasons, has been in the reduction of to 32:28 and 31:37.

“I’m playing basketball, so I felt good,” O’Neale, who had been second within the NBA in minutes played earlier within the season, said with a shrug.

“It was great to get a rest. I didn’t know I used to be number two in minutes, but that’s just me putting in plenty of exertions and being able to play every game, every minute.”

O’Neale, who spent five years with the Jazz alongside Donovan Mitchell, said he had no clue of his longtime friend’s comments concerning the mental strain surrounding the subtle and not-so-subtle racial facets of playing in Salt Lake City.

Patty Mills practiced Tuesday and will probably be available Wednesday versus the Warriors after he missed the last two games with a non-COVID illness.

David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Day’Ron Sharpe and Donovan Williams are all out on G-League project with Long Island, however the Nets are finally expected to have a clean injury list.

The Warriors, who were blown out by the Knicks on Tuesday, couldn’t say as much.

Stephen Curry (left shoulder subluxation), Donte DiVincenzo (non-COVID illness), JaMychal Green (health and safety protocols), Andre Iguodala (left hip), and Andrew Wiggins (right adductor strain) were all out, while Jonathan Kuminga (left knee soreness) played and scored 13 points within the loss and Klay Thompson (left knee soreness) added 11.

Nets owner Joe Tsai plans to sell an 8 percent stake in Alibaba, the e-commerce giant he co-founded, based on a recent SEC filing. … Kevin Durant and business partner Wealthy Kleiman are buying a Major League Pickleball expansion team, based on Sportico.

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