After dropping a hard fought game in Los Angeles last night against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, the Nets return to action tonight on the second night of a back-to-back. In Oakland, California, the Nets will battle the Golden State Warriors in the final game of their three-game California road trip. For D-Will and crew, this will be the third game in four nights and after splitting the first two game on the trip against the Sacramento Kings and the Lakers, Avery Johnson’s team is hoping to return to Brooklyn as winners of two out of three.
Here is your pregame primer…
History is at Stake
The Nets let a winnable game slip through their fingers on Tuesday night against the Lakers. The 95-90 loss snapped the Nets five-game win streak, but a win tonight would make the club 7-3 though its first 10 games and that would match the best 10 game start in franchise history. The Nets also began the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons by winning seven of their first 10 games. Those two season also saw the Nets win the Eastern Conference and reach the NBA Finals in consecutive years, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, respectively.
Though we’re not quite ready to declare the Nets are conference champions just yet, a win tonight would give the (now) Brooklyn Nets a positive piece of history.
Andrew Bogut Out
Since being selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, center Andrew Bogut has had trouble staying healthy. Bogut played in all 82 games for the Bucks in his rookie year, but has managed to play as many as 78 games just once since then. The Warriors hoped to have better luck with Bogut when it dealt for him this past March, but that hasn’t been the case.
Bogut has missed the club’s last six games and is expected to be out for at least three more. In his absence, the Warriors have started rookie Festus Ezeli and have also given reserves Carl Landry and Andris Biedrins copious minutes.
When healthy, Bogut is a great interior defender, but without him, Brook Lopez needs to continue to be dominant. In last night’s loss, Lopez scored 23 points, converting on 11 of his 18 field goal attempts. Without Bogut, he should be able to replicate that performance.
Controlling the Tempo
With a starting backcourt featuring Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors are a team that likes to push the tempo. As a team, the Warriors rank 12th in the NBA, scoring 98.5 points per game.
The Warriors, however, give up 100.3 points per game, the sixth highest total allowed across the league. If the Nets can force the Warriors to play a slower tempo game and make it a half court contest on both ends of the floor, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez should easily be able to have their way with the Warriors porous defense.
Keeping David Lee In Check
Basketball fans in the tristate area know David Lee well. After spending the first five years of his career as a member of the New York Knicks, Lee was traded to the Golden State Warriors back in July 2010. Thus far this season, Lee is averaging 15.6 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game for the Warriors.
In the Warriors last game—a win over the Dallas Mavericks—Lee put up an impressive 17 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
As is stands, the Nets are a two point favorite over the Warriors, but keeping Lee in check—especially on the glass—will be necessary to ensure a win.