That didn't go according to plan. The Brooklyn Nets jumped out to a 19 point lead, but were unable to maintain it as they lost to the Phoenix Suns 112-104 to begin their quick three game road trip. This is the second night of a back-to-back and Brooklyn will need to get over their disappointing loss quickly.
Waiting for the Nets will be the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs are off to a good start, but lost their most recent game 113-100 to the San Antonio Spurs. The team is different from last season, but the expectations surrounding them are pretty much the same. In a crowded Western Conference field, they have a good chance of making a deep playoff run if all goes well.
Where to follow the game
National TV time! This game is the second half of TNT's Thursday doubleheader and will come on after Chicago and Toronto. For those on the radio, you can follow along at WFAN 101.9 FM.
The Nets are at full strength.
For the Warriors, David Lee has been dealing with a strained hamstring and hasn't played since November 5th. He's expected to miss another week.
In the early portions of the game against Phoenix, the Nets looked fantastic. The ball movement was crisp, the cuts were timely and they had Phoenix on the ropes. However, that did not carry over to the second half. The offense became stagnant, nobody could make a shot, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The discussion surrounding the team this week has focused on Joe Johnson calling out his teammates, but his comment about Brooklyn not facing elite competition is way more important. As the Nets face tougher competition, they need to avoid isolation heavy basketball and continue moving and spreading the ball evenly across the offense.
It's been rough for Brook Lopez, and having to deal with Andrew Bogut won't make things any easier. Like his peers, Brook went cold in the second half, missing all six of his field goal attempts and not getting to the free throw line at all. And like other games recently, Lopez found himself parked on the bench late. Brook is one of the team's most important players, and naturally, his struggles are going to be magnified. He needs to help set the tone throughout the game and help on the glass. The Warriors are non existent on the offensive glass and glass and that should do wonders for Lopez, especially with David Lee out of action. Bogut presents one of Lopez's biggest challenges early in his comeback. He's been one of the best defensive big men since he entered the league nine years ago.
The Joe Johnson-Harrison Barnes matchup should be fun. Johnson has been one of the best perimeter players in the league, but is coming off of a mediocre game in Phoenix. When the Nets fell apart late against the Suns, he tried to shoot them back in the game, but it didn't work. Johnson can isolate when necessary, but the Nets will get the most out of him with a diversified attack.
Barnes matches up perfectly with Johnson. He's the same height and weight as Johnson so Joe's low post play might be stifled a bit. On the other side of the ball, Barnes' game has really taken a step forward under Steve Kerr. He's taken more three pointers than his usual and is shooting 43.8 percent from downtown. Barnes' development is something worth keeping an eye on as the year progresses.
The Warriors have a sparkling offense, but turnovers have been a major issue two weeks into the season. They lead the league in total turnovers and are coughing it up an astounding 22 times per game. They haven't hurt that much relatively speaking (5-2 record), but if the Warriors want to make a deep playoff push, they're gonna need to get that in check.
The matchup between Deron Williams and Stephen Curry promises to be outstanding. They are two of the best point guards in the league and are living up to their reputations. Williams is healthy and is attacking much more frequently than he had been throughout his tenure in New Jersey and Brooklyn. By putting constant pressure on opposing defenses, Deron is creating a ton of good looks for himself and his teammates. On the other side, Curry has been terrific. He's averaging a career high 26 points per game along with a career best 62.3 true shooting percentage (it helps to shoot 97 percent from the free throw line). Curry is coming off a poor game (by his standards) against the Spurs so look for him to attack early and often. This is gonna be fun.
For the first time in his career, Andre Iguodala is coming off of the bench. He's been starting his entire career and his all around game has made him one of the better all around players in the NBA. He's at career lows in every major offensive category and has turned it 24 percent of the time he's had the ball. His focus for this game will be on the defensive side, where he's still one of the best in the league. He's more than capable of guarding multiple positions and he'll take turns guarding Williams, Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic.
We also get a chance to see old pal Shaun Livingston. Livingston had the best season of his career and was able to parlay that into a three year, $16 million contract with Golden State. That level of success hasn't shown itself yet, but there's a long way to go and Livingston should pick it up as the year goes on. In the meantime, Leandro Barbosa will see most of the minutes coming off of the bench.
Player to watch: Klay Thompson
Thompson missed Sunday's game against the Suns with a sprained hand, but that's been the only blip in what's been an excellent start to the season for the fourth year player from Washington State. Thompson has taken on more responsibility on offense and it's paying off for the Warriors and their fans. He's at career highs in every shooting category, has tripled his free throws attempted per game, and is better at distributing the ball. No wonder Curry said he and Thompson were the best backcourt in the NBA.
Bojan Bogdanovic is going to have his hands full tonight. He can help his cause by being active on offense. He's not a particularly great defender, so Andrei Kirilenko might get a crack at guarding Thompson tonight.
From the Vault
Head on back to the 2007 playoffs and watch Baron Davis dominate the Dallas Mavericks. Baron was so much fun to watch.
More reading: Golden State Of Mind
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Golden State Warriors Game Notes - Golden State Warriors
- Nets-Warriors Preview - Noey Kupchan - STATS LLC
- Barnes soaring, but Iguodala struggles for Warriors - Rusty Simmons - San Francisco Chronicle
- Warriors' Andre Iguodala is not clicking right now - Carl Steward - Contra Costa Times
Nets rewind: Undone by Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack turnovers - Tim Bontemps - New York Post