After 35 games the 14-21 Brooklyn Nets are currently slotted in the 8th spot in the tortuous Eastern Conference.
While this record may not seem playoff-worthy, it looks a lot better after a season-high, four-game winning streak, which coach Jason Kidd’s guys hope to extend tonight at home against the 27-9 Miami Heat.
LeBron and company played the other New York City league affiliate last night in Manhattan. Surprisingly they came out on the losing side to the 13-22 Knicks by a score of 102-92.
The Heat were without PG Mario Chalmers, who missed the last two games with a right Achilles strain. League MVP James led his team with 32 points, and Wade chipped in 23.
Both sides shot around 54% from the field. However, NY pounded the Heat on the offensive glass, which led to 14 more field goal attempts. Miami’s 52.4% shooting from the charity stripe was also a factor, and Flash was chippy after the 48 when asked about his 0-6 free throw struggles.
Brooklyn kicked off their recent win streak with their best coup of the season on January 2nd at OKC.
The Nets have since dispatched Cleveland, Atlanta and Golden State at Barclays. In fact, in their impressive take-down of the Warriors on Wednesday night, the Nets ended the Dubs’ 10-game winning streak.
Playing without C Brook Lopez and PG Deron Williams, Brooklyn’s 102-98 victory was helped by having five players in double figures, led by Joe Johnson’s 27. In addition, C Andray Blatche contributed 17 points off the bench.
Tonight’s game will be the second of four meetings between these squads this season. The first, also in the borough, was on November 1st. That night the Nets prevailed 101-100 with both Lopez and Williams in the lineup. Coach Kidd relied on 11 players’ contributions in the true team win.
Tune in to tonight’s “nickname game” on YES at 8PM ET to see if Brooklyn can continue their winning ways against the scary, 2X defending NBA Champs.
The Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder have both played in 31 contests so far this season. Both sides recently lost one of their two best starters to injuries. And both squads lost to their opponents on Tuesday. However, their similarities end there.
Coach Scott Brooks’ guys lead the Western Conference at 25-6 and possess a home record of 14-2. Coach Jason Kidd’s team sits at 9-21, which is good for the second worst mark in the 30-team league.
Tonight the Nets will wrap up a 3-game road swing that has pitted them against the top 3 records in the NBA. On Saturday the Nets fell to Indiana 105-91 after trailing by just 2 at the half.
On Tuesday, they were manhandled 113-92 in San Antonio. Starting big man Kevin Garnett had 2 points and zero FGs. It was only the second time in KG’s 19-year career that he failed to score from the field.
Brooklyn’s lone win in their past seven games was at home against the sole team in the league looking up at them, the Milwaukee Bucks. In all the major team categories, the Nets rank in the 20’s. They must make a shift, whether it be mental, physical or via trade, to help get back on their predicted track and salvage this season.
A good start tonight would be pounding, hounding and surrounding the glass at both ends, as they rank 28th in team rebounding while the Thunder occupy the top spot in boarding.
In addition, with All-Everything PG Russell Westbrook on the shelf for a while, tonight would be a great time for PG Deron Williams and SG Joe Johnson to flash their multiple All-Star credentials and put the pressure on the Thunder’s depleted backcourt.
Are some of Brooklyn’s players past their primes? Yes. Is the Brook Lopez injury devastating to this season’s current outlook? Yes. Were the Nets touted as an Eastern Conference heavyweight too soon after forming their newest nucleus? Yes.
But with 49 regular season games remaining, Brooklyn still has time to flip their fortune and grab one of the weak East’s top 8 spots. A Brooklyn victory this evening would reignite their campaign and stand out as the best W of the season for the Nets.
Tune in to the YES Network at 8PM ET to see if the Nets can bounce back and stop the Durant-led Thunder storm.