The Nets will take every win they can get. Brooklyn was facing a depleted Atlanta team but came away with a good 90-88 victory in front of R. Kelly and a few other people at Barclays Center last night. Brooklyn still has the second worst record in the Eastern Conference, but they hope they can start a winning streak together soon. This is the second night of a back-to-back. They're taking part in a home-and-home set with the Boston Celtics this weekend.
Joining the Nets this evening will be the Charlotte Hornets. Like Brooklyn, Charlotte is on the second night of a back-to-back. They lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden last night. This is the first night of a seven game homestand for Charlotte. After this, they host Philadelphia on Friday night before playing Washington, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Golden State over the next two weeks.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV will be blacked out in areas served by Comcast because of a dispute over carry fees.. There's no indication that NBA TV will make up for the loss. and WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. Tip off is after 7 PM.
Everybody that can play for the Nets will be out there tonight. No word yet on when Willie Reed (thumb ligament) will return to practice.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the season, but has managed to keep himself busy. Jeremy Lamb has been dealing with a left shoulder strain but played last night and should be good to go tonight. PJ Hairston missed the game yesterday with a right quad contusion and his status is unknown as of this writing.
Marvin Williams committed a flagrant foul two last night and won't be available for this game.
Thaddeus Young has been great since he's been a member of the Nets. Young got a season high five steals and made the game winning free throws (along with a deflection on the following inbounds pass) to beat the Hawks. He took a hard fall late in the game, and fortunately, he didn't suffer a broken wrist. He's done well on the glass, can get around opposing power forwards and get to the rim, and can hit the occasional three pointer. With Williams out, Cody Zeller figures to get the start at PF. What Zeller lacks in outside shooting, he makes up for it by crashing the offensive glass. The Hornets are the third worst team in the league at getting offensive rebounds, so if the Nets can play good defense, they'll be able to limit Charlotte to one shot a possession.
Kemba Walker played well last night in MSG, but hasn't been having a great season. He's only shooting 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from three point range. He's driving to the rim a bit less than he did last season and the majority of his shots have come from the mid range area. If he's able to get to the rim frequently tonight, it'll open up opportunities from three point range for Lamb, Frank Kaminsky and the other Hornets. Brooklyn's three point defense has been leaky this year (opponents are shooting 37.5 percent from deep, fourth highest in the league), so Charlotte will let be letting the threes fly.
Things work better when Brook Lopez is the one taking the majority of the shots. He led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed ten rebounds along with three blocks vs ATL. Al Jefferson will start and while he's shooting 51.8 percent from the field, he's playing the fewest amount of minutes per game since he became a full time starter in 2006. With Big Al playing fewer minutes, we'll get a good look at Spencer Hawes. He came over from the Clippers after the Hornets decided to get rid of Lance Stephenson. He was supposed to stretch the floor, but he's shooting under 30 percent from three. Brook should be able to have a big game tonight.
Player to watch: Nicolas Batum
After seven mostly good seasons with the Portland Trailblazers, Nicolas Batum was traded to Charlotte prior to the Draft in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. He had a bad game vs Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks last night, but he's been having a nice year on the whole. Batum has family in Paris and his mind has been on the attacks that engulfed the city late last week. He's doing his best to stay focused on hoops, saying:
Batum will be a free agent this summer and there will be a bunch of teams looking to add a player like him to their club.
Joe Johnson only went 5-14 from the field vs Atlanta, but he did collect seven rebounds and hand out nine assists (with no turnovers). Going into the year, the Nets expected Johnson to be the number two scorer behind Brook Lopez. But with his continued struggles from the field, Johnson as a distributor might be the best option for the team right now. They're going to need him to pick up his scoring soon though.
From the Vault
It's always fun to watch Nets highlights from the 2002 Playoffs.
More reading: At The Hive