As we New York City battles a snowstorm, the Brooklyn Nets are down in Miami to challenge the defending NBA champion Heat.
Fresh off of a somewhat disappointing loss, the Nets are looking to rebound and get back in the win column. Obviously, it will be a tall order.
Here’s your Pre-Game Primer.
Gerald Wallace Out
The most significant news coming out from earlier today is that Gerald Wallace will miss his second consecutive game with an ankle issue. Without Wallace, the Nets will be forced to try to stop LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s penetration into the paint without their best perimeter defender. To make matters worse, Josh Childress is out with an ankle issue of his own. After watching the likes of Andrei Kirilenko and Alexi Shved shred the Nets defense in Monday night’s loss, it will be interesting to see how the Nets defense performs without Wallace.
Keith Bogans will start for Wallace at the small forward spot and he will be joined by Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez.
Through two games, the Nets are turning the ball over 15 times per contest. Though that number could be a lot worse, the Miami Heat are known for turning turnovers into easy transition opportunities. In the open floor, James and Wade are unstoppable so the Nets would probably be wise to play the game at a slower tempo, limit turnovers and attempt to force the Heat to play a half-court game. And speaking of half-court game…
With Humphries and Lopez and Johnson at the shooting guard spot, the Nets will enjoy a pretty decent size advantage over the smaller Heat. Williams and Johnson are both good half-court players, but on Monday night, we saw the ball stick in Johnson’s hands a lot down the stretch. Johnson and Lopez are both good post-up players and should be able to force the Heat to double team them in the post. Off-ball cuts and backdoor passes are kryptonite to the Heat’s aggressive blitz and trap defense.
If the Nets can execute well out of their half-court sets and move the ball effectively, it will go a long way toward scoring the early season upset in South Beach.
The Rebound Factor
Corralling loose balls off of missed shots is important, but the rebounding we’re referring to here is another type of rebound—the type that shows the ability to bounce back. Since Monday night’s loss, many in New York City have began to question whether or not the new-look Nets are the team of yesteryear that routinely squandered leads and lost winnable games.
Tonight, the Nets will have an opportunity to erase that bad memory. Earlier on Wednesday, LeBron James said he thinks that the Nets are going to compete with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks in the Atlantic division. We’ll see.
Check back after game time for the Rapid Recap.
Tip-off time is 7:30 P.M. from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The game will be televised on the YES Network.