The struggle continues. The Brooklyn Nets were unable to pick up their first win of the 2015-2016 season, losing in Memphis on Saturday night. The team is 0-3 and all of their losses have been by double digits.
Coming into town will be the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have some new pieces and a bit more experience this year and they're hoping to be near the top of the Eastern Conference once the season ends. This is the second night of a back-to-back. They lost to the Raptors in Toronto last night. And like the Nets, they're 0-3.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off is after 7:30.
Nothing doing for Brooklyn other than long-term absences for Chris McCullough and Willie Reed. .
Jabari Parker is still recovering from the knee surgery he underwent last season and won't be playing tonight. OJ Mayo has been dealing with a tight left hamstring and has yet to play this season. Lastly, big man John Henson has been bothered by a sore left Achilles and won't be playing.
These teams will meet again on Saturday night in Milwaukee. Of note, they'll both be on the second night of a back-to-back. The Nets are home for the Lakers and the Bucks are playing the Knicks at the Garden.
Milwaukee surprised some people by winning free agent Greg Monroe's services and signing him to a three year, $50 million contract. Monroe has been playing well three games in, averaging 22 points, almost ten rebounds, and three assists while shooting 58 percent from the floor. Almost all of his shots have come from inside of eight feet, but he has had success from the high post area in the past. Brook Lopez will need to have a bounce back game. He didn't do much of anything in Memphis, but he did manage to corral 10 rebounds in only 28 minutes of game action. With Henson out, the Nets should look to feature Lopez even more on offense. Miles Plumlee is Monroe's backup, and if Brooklyn can get Moose into early foul trouble, Lopez could be in line for a 30 point night.
The Bucks have had a lot of difficulty defending teams from the three point line. Teams are shooting 46.4 percent from downtown against Milwaukee, highest in the league (the Nets are second in that dubious category). Fortunately for them, they're facing the worst three point shooting team in the league. Brooklyn is only shooting 21.7 percent from deep three games in and are last in attempts as well. This might end up being an ugly game to watch.
Point guard play is always something to keep an eye on, and the Bucks are having difficulties of their own at that position. Michael Carter-Williams is averaging 15 points and seven assists, but he's committing four turnovers a game and shooting 38.5 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three. The book on him is pretty much the same, and the Nets will look to goad him into taking jumpers tonight. Greivis Vasquez is the backup and he has played well against the Nets in recent years, so if MCW struggles, Jason Kidd might make an early substitution. As for Jarrett Jack, the Nets are hoping he doesn't lead the team in shot attempts like he did on Saturday night.
Off the court, the Bucks made news by securing funding for a new state of the art arena to replace the Bradley Center. There was a lot of controversy surrounding it, and the debate will continue in the foreseeable future. Our friends at Brew Hoop have got you covered as this process moves along.
Player to watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
After a solid 2014-2015 season, fan favorite Giannis is back and he's put on some muscle. The Greek Freak put on some pounds over the summer and after serving a one game suspension for his elbow to Chicago's Mike Dunleavy in Game Six of the First Round, has been off to a great start. Giannis is such a gifted player that has the potential to defy our traditional expectation of what defines a small forward. Over at Hardwood Paroxysm, Ian Levy wrote the following:
This conversation is obviously muddy because small forward and power forward are terms with limited intrinsic meaning these days. But the point remains the same. Often teams, scouts and fans see the traces of small-man skill in a big body and give them a mental shove towards that smaller position. The inclination is natural — size is a benefit and if you can cram a few extra inches into each position without losing skill, then why not?
This is all really about taking the small ball rigamarole down to the player level. There are two different ways to build an offense around the advantages of speed and spacing. One is to play small, trading size for the other two. The second is to have players who are fast and can shoot, yet are still big enough to play the traditional positions. If Giannis could shoot, the Bucks would be one step closer to a terrifying, stretchy, uptempo offensive attack, but with a 6’11" small forward. But what if the realization of his potential is speed in a big box, not size in a small one?
As he continues to grow and improve his game, he's going to be someone to keep a close eye on.
If the Nets want to start winning, they're going to need Joe Johnson to be the team's best scorer after Lopez. It won't be easy tonight as Giannis and Khris Middleton will take turns guarding him. When Johnson heads to the bench, Bojan Bogdanovic will take his place. He put his best game of the season together on Saturday, scoring a team high 19 points on 8-15 from the field. He had a pretty bad preseason, so any sign of him breaking out is great news for Lionel Hollins and the Nets staff. The Nets are going to need their three point shooting to kick in one of these days, and if Bojan gets hot against a team that's struggling to defend the three point line, it could push Brooklyn closer to their first win of the year.
From the Vault
A few years ago, the Bucks found themselves in the unenviable position of being just good enough to make the playoffs, but nowhere near being a contender to win a series. When that happens, you usually end up having to face players like LeBron James in the first round.
More reading: Brew Hoop
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks Game Notes - Milwaukee Bucks
- Bucks-Nets Preview Bucks-Nets Preview - Scott Garbarini - STATS LLC
- Why Hollins shook up Nets lineup after just 2 games - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- How the league is leaving the Nets behind from beyond the arc - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
Schedule dictates Nets’ early start - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- Preview: Bucks vs. Nets - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
- Brooklyn Nets: Shooting, As Expected, Killing Nets Early - Phil Watson - HoopsHabit