Back-to-back. The Brooklyn Nets were unable to win their second game of the season and lost to the Kings 111-109 in Sacramento last night. This is the second leg of a b2b and the last night of their four game road trip. Once this game wraps up, the Nets get two days off before returning home to face the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
Defending NBA Champions. Winners of ten straight games to begin the season. Owners of a 50 point victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Everything is going right for the Golden State Warriors this year. They're coming off of a nice win in Minnesota against the Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV with WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio call. Tip off is after 10:30.
The Nets are ok. although they could probably use Willie Reed (thumb ligament) and Chris McCullough (ACL rehab).
Steve Kerr is still recuperating from offseason and won't be back for a while. Andrew Bogut recently missed six games thanks to a concussion, but he made his return earlier this week against Detroit. LeAndro Barbosa isn't injured, but he will miss this game as he is tending to a family matter in Brazil. Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and Brandon Rush are a bit under the weather, but they'll be playing.
Steph Curry is phenomenal. He was already the league MVP, but has managed to get even better this year. He can score from anywhere on the court, currently leads the league in scoring, is a great passer, and a better defender than he's sometimes given credit for. Golden State of Mind's Andy Liu described what it's like to watch Steph right now:
Like Nash, Curry sees plays before they even start to formulate, before the fans even notice despite having the entire floor in their vision. Curry forces you to watch the rest of screen while juggling the dizzying ability to keep your eyes on his handle and release at all times. There's no one in the world like Stephen Curry right now. We're not talking "Stephen Curry on a hot streak" like a couple years ago. We expect those incendiary minutes of gloriousness now, except they're perched on top of a lesser type of greatness, ordinary spectacular spoiled amongst his followers at this point. Stephen Curry's normal is the elite of basketball. Stephen Curry's greatness is the pinnacle of basketball.
It's impossible to slow Curry down, but if I were Lionel Hollins, I'd let Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chase Curry around. RHJ has been a positive for the Nets this year and wouldn't do any worse than Jarrett Jack. Hollis-Jefferson usually defends the opponent's best perimeter player, so why not let him have a shot against the league's best player?
So what's going on with Klay Thompson? His numbers on the surface aren't particularly bad, but it's a step down from his All Star campaign last season. He was dealing with a back injury at the beginning of the year, but says he's fine now. The Warriors have gotten off to such an amazing start despite the occasional sloppy performance and Klay not being at his best. Once Thompson gets rolling, they'll be even harder to beat.
We ought to see a healthy amount of Bojan Bogdanovic tonight. The Nets need all the scoring help they can get, and Bogie is their best option coming off the bench. After going 0-7 from three point range to begin the year, he's gone 10 for his last 23 from deep. With Joe Johnson still struggling to find his shot (he's only shot above 40 percent from the field twice this year), it'll be up to Bogdanovic to try and keep the Nets close.
Player to watch: Draymond Green
Draymond has been having a spectacular season for the Warriors. He had a solid regular season and showed out in the postseason guarding players like Anthony Davis and Zach Randolph. The Warriors rewarded him with a five year, $82 million contract and has been worth every dollar so far. His defense has been excellent and his per game statistics have risen (except rebounds), but his three point shooting and passing are where he really stands out. He was a league average shooter from deep last year, but this season he's shooting 44 percent from downtown. That improvement makes an already excellent offense even more versatile as he can draw big men away from the basket and drive by them if the three isn't available. Green's also taken on more of the ballhandling reaponsibility for G-State. Teams are so terrified of Steph that they have to guard him as soon as he crosses halfcourt. As ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss points out, when teams defend Curry in pick-and-roll situations, the big men usually end up trying to trap him or are simply out of position. When that happens, the ball usually ends up in Green's hand and from there, he always makes the right pass to set up his teammates. It's a big reason why he's averaging 6.6 assists a night and is a triple double threat every time he plays.
Green presents a big matchup problem for Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. When the Warriors go small and play Green at the Center position, he's strong enough to defend Lopez in the post without any help. Lopez is a decent defender in his own right, but if he's guarding Green in a smallball lineup, he's going to have a rough go of it. The most minutes Thomas Robinson has played this year is 15. He ought to see more time tonight, unless Hollins wants to test his luck and have Andrea Bargnani out there for an extended period. That might not end well.
From the Vault
Six years ago today, Brandon Jenings hung 55 on the Dubs in three quarters.
More reading: Golden State Of Mind