Fratello Telestrator


Gameday: Nets vs. Clippers

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers have both toiled for years as the proverbial younger brothers in the respective shadows of their metropolitan foes, the Knicks and Lakers.

The 2012-2013 season has seen the emergence of these two franchises from their long-held backseat roles. Tonight’s 48 in SoCal will mark the second and final time these two squads will do battle in the regular season.

In their first year in Brooklyn, the Nets have compiled a 40-28 record and have clinched a playoff berth after missing the postseason for four years straight. They are currently in the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference, only a game and a half behind the suddenly slumping Knicks.

The 47-22 Clips also sit in the 4th spot of their conference and have clinched a playoff berth as well. They are a whopping 11.5 games better than their Staples co-tenants.

Brooklyn has won six of their last eight contests, including four road victories. On Wednesday night coach P.J. Carlesimo’s guys destroyed the Mavericks 113-96 in Big D.

Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento KingsBrook Lopez scored a season-high 38 points to go along with 11 boards and 2 blocks. Deron Williams went for 31 points and 6 dimes in front of his hometown crowd. In addition, super-motor Reggie Evans hauled down 22 rebounds.

The Clippers are 5-4 in the month of March and have yet to record back-to-back wins. After a disappointing 116-101 loss at Sacramento on Tuesday, coach Vinny Del Negro’s team bounced back with an easy 101-72 win against Philadelphia in Los Angeles.

As is so often the case, PG Chris Paul led the team with 19 points, 9 dimes, 6 boards and 5 steals. This was especially important because backup 1-guard Eric Bledsoe missed his 5th straight game with a calf injury and super veteran Chauncey Billups sat out with a hamstring issue. Both players are listed as questionable for tonight’s matchup.

When these two sides played in Brooklyn on November 23rd, the Nets topped the Clips 86-76. The game was tied going into the fourth quarter when the Nets pulled away, limiting LA to 13 points in the final 12 minutes. Lopez led the team with 26 points and 3 blocks.

Tune in to the YES Network at 10:30 PM ET to see if the Nets can improve on their 18-14 road record and take the season series from the Clippers.

Czar’s Midseason Review


Gameday Dish: Nets vs. Grizzlies

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe 26-16 Brooklyn Nets come to The Home of the Blues tonight to battle the 27-14 Grizzlies. Jay-Z’s reenergized squad has gone 12-2 since Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo took the reins last month.

Carlesimo inserted 11th-year, rugged PF Reggie Evans into the first 5 in place of PF Kris Humphries. This new starting group of PG Williams, SG Johnson, SF Wallace, C Lopez and Evans has gone 9-1. Brooklyn currently sits just one game in back of their city rival Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

After being the topic of trade chatter for more than a year, 5th-year Brook Lopez is the highest scoring 5 in the league at 18.6 ppg to go along with 7.4 rpg and 2.1 bpg. With a PER of 25.45, many find it ludicrous that he was left off of the East’s All-Star roster. Many residents of the Nets’ borough think Lopez puts the Brook in Brooklyn.

Memphis has an All-Star snub as well according to Griz fans – 5th-year, 7’1” C Marc Gasol. The Spaniard has played in and started all 41 games this season and can fill up the stat sheet. He is averaging 13.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 bpg and 1 spg while shooting close to 50% from the field and 88% from the line.

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Both sides play defense well and statistically rank high in points allowed per game. The Nets at 94.1 are 5th and the Grizzlies at 89.5 are 2nd. Memphis PG Mike Conley is 2nd in the league in steals at 2.35 per game. Nets Lopez, Evans and the high-energy Wallace may be the most for formidable defensive front court in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn last played on Wednesday at Minnesota where they were victorious, 91-83. Deron Williams led the team with 18 points, 6 boards, 8 dimes and 3 steals.

Memphis also added to their win column on Wednesday, hosting and beating the flailing Los Angeles Lakers, 106-93, to improve their home record to 16-6. They outscored LA in all 4 quarters with 6 players reaching double figure points. The Grizzlies’ top performance on Wed. belonged to back-up PF Darrell Arthur. Arthur had 20 points, 9 boards and 3 dimes in 28 minutes of run.

Tune in tonight at 8PM ET to the YES Network to see if Brooklyn can continue their winning ways against a formidable Western Conference foe.

Gameday Dish: Celtics vs. Nets

The five-time defending Atlantic Division Champion Boston Celtics come to Brooklyn tonight to take on the Nets in the first regular season game between these two franchises.

Coach Doc Rivers’ guys beat the Utah Jazz in Boston last night, 98-93, taking their record to 5-3. PG Rajon Rondo left the contest in the third quarter with a right ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Rondo still managed to dish 10 dimes in his 32nd straight game with at least 10 or more assists, and he currently leads the NBA with 12.5 apg.

First-year Celtic and 2007 6th Man of The Year combo-guard Leandro Barbosa stepped in for Rondo and scored 16 points in the victory. Both the Celts’ and Nets’ coaching staffs are still trying to figure out their starting units and how to use the bench players in their rotations.

Boston has a deep, veteran roster including Jeff Green, who’s back from heart surgery and added 16 points in Wednesday’s win. Bench play will have a significant impact on tonight’s results as well.

The 4-2 Brooklyn squad last played on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They prevailed 114-101 with Joe Johnson and Deron Williams both scoring season highs of 25 and 26 respectively. First-year Net Johnson had his best game yet of the early season and will continue to improve as he adjusts to his new teammates, especially D-Will.

The C’s beat the Nets in all three matchups last season and have won 18 of the last 20 games. However, this Brooklyn incarnation is very different than the 2011-2012 NJ version.

Fifth-year center Brook Lopez is healthy, and he’s averaging 17.5 ppg and 2.3 bpg so far after missing 61 of 66 games last year due to various injuries. Unfortunately, do-everything forward Gerald Wallace will miss his sixth straight game due to a sprained left ankle.

Though it’s early in the season, tonight’s matchup could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Join me, Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager at 8PM ET on TNT to watch two top teams in the East ignite what is sure to be a long rivalry between these division foes.