Gameday Dish

The 3-5 Brooklyn Nets head to the City of Angels to play the 6-3 LA Clippers tonight at Staples. Coach Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Boys are coming off their first road win of the young season after Joe Johnson sank the winning basket at the buzzer for a 100-98 OT W in Phoenix. Also contributing to the victory were C Brook Lopez, who tied his season-high with 27 points, and 19th-year Kevin Garnett, who hauled in a season-high 14 boards.

Though the dramatic, come-from-behind win was an important get for the Nets, it was also costly. PG Deron Williams left the contest in the first quarter after spraining his left ankle. In his stead, veteran 1-guard Shaun Livingston came in to run the offense and scored a season-high 18 points in 37 minutes.

Late in the fourth quarter Lopez and Garnett collided with one another. Williams and Lopez along with small forward Paul Pierce (sore left groin) will all miss tonight’s 48, while Garnett will be a game time decision.

The Clippers last played on Wednesday night at home, besting the OKC Thunder 111-103. Blake Griffin had 22 points, 12 boards and 7 assists while his fellow co-captain Chris Paul went for 14 points and 16 dimes. Amazingly, Paul has reached double figures in both categories in all 9 of LA’s games so far.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles ClippersCoach Doc Rivers’ squad is averaging a league-best 110 points per game and has yet to lose at home. In fact, at Staples the Clips are averaging 120.8 ppg, which is also best in the NBA for a home court average. But on the other side of the court, the Clippers are allowing 106 ppt, which puts them at 29th in the league. This number is sure to improve considering Rivers’ emphasis on and history of coaching advanced team D.

Though it looks like the reunion will be postponed, Coach Rivers was prepared to get a potent dose of his own medicine from former pupils KG and LA native Pierce. This trio competed together for six seasons in Boston, winning the 2008 Championship and being minutes away from winning Game 7 in 2010. In other words, there’s lots of shared history for these three.

Brooklyn is off to a somewhat disappointing start after all their off-season acquisitions and the accompanying buzz. By picking up super-veterans KG, Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko this summer, many prognosticators proclaimed this Nets team ready to dethrone LeBron and the Heat. However, it’s still mid-November and this roster was formulated with May and June in mind. A Nets win tonight would be encouraging on many levels considering this is the second night of a road back-to-back and that the Clippers are on a hot streak and have yet to lose at home.

Tune in to the YES Network at 10:30 PM ET to see if Brooklyn can come away with another big W despite being shorthanded.

Czar’s Playoff Preview


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.

Mike’s Take

Prior to Thursday’s Clippers vs. Wolves matchup on TNT I talked with Timberwolves reporter Jerry Zgoda for the Star Tribune.

Q TNT has a Wolves-Clippers and Lakers-Heat doubleheader Thursday. Not long ago, the Lakers always would have been considered the main event. Has that changed?

A Yep, I think we have to give the Clippers their due. They have the best or second-best record in the NBA along with Oklahoma City, and they’ve certainly earned it, and the Lakers have not done very well after the very high expectations. Right now it’s the Clippers’ town until the Lakers take it back.

Q Does that seem strange to say?

A Yeah, it does, with the history of the Clippers. But it’s a new culture there now. Vinny Del Negro has put his imprint on the team. Chris Paul has been so important. And they’ve made some really good veteran pickups: Chauncey Billups, Grant Hill are just solid people. They’re for real. The playoffs are strange. They could legitimately win it all, they really could.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the interview.