Beggars can't be choosers, and when you're at the bottom of the conference, you'll take whatever victory you can get. For the Nets, that meant only beating the one win Philadelphia 76ers by nine points at home on Thursday night. At 2-1 on their six homestand, the Nets have three more games to win in front of their fans before heading to Indiana next Friday.
Coming into town will be the Los Angeles Clippers. At 13-10, the Clippers are fourth in the Western Conference but appear to be a class below teams like Golden State and San Antonio (then again, the same could be said for everybody else in the NBA). They had a chance to send the game to overtime at the buzzer, but fell just short against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. This is the fourth game of their five game road trip. They wrap up in Detroit on Monday night.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV (with fewer and fewer viewers), WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. Early evening tip tonight, so the game will be starting a bit after 5 PM.
Andrea Bargnani made his return to action on Thursday after missing over a week due to a tight left hamstring. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery on Wednesday.
Nothing doing for LA.
Let's take a look at what these clubs have been up to
Offensive Rebounding Rate
Free Throw Rate
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage
We're entering trade season, and the Clips were in the news recently. On Monday night, Marc Spears of Yahoo reported that LA asked around the league to see if there was interest in free agent acquisition Josh Smith and trade acquisition Lance Stephenson. On Wednesday night, Doc Rivers came out and strongly denied the report. Stephenson and Smith were expected to provide depth coming off of the bench, and they don't appear to be half bad this year. On the other hand, Paul Pierce was expected to shore up the bench, but he's struggled a month and a half in. He should pay off in the postseason, so as long as he makes it through the regular season in one piece, he should help them when it matters most.
Here's something to keep an eye on. The Nets have committed 43 turnovers in the past two games, including a season high 24 vs. Houston on Tuesday. The Nets will need to do a much better job of managing their possessions tonight or risk being out of this game early. Wasting possessions is always bad for business, but doing so against a top ten offense is a recipe for disaster.
We keep telling y'all about trying to take charges underneath the basket...
Including that monster mash, DeAndre Jordan has been having a nice year so far. He's averaging 11 points and 13 rebounds in 32 minutes a night. The Clippers talked this summer about involving him more in the offense, but nah. He's agile enough to hang with ball handlers on pick and rolls and has the length to properly contest those shot attempts. Teams are still going to the fun killing hack a Jordan strategy, and DJ is only shooting 38.9 percent from the line. If we're lucky, we won't be subjected to that hacking foolishness tonight. Brook Lopez should have a lot of energy for this matchup. He played a season low 19:34 against the Sixers as he was saddled with foul trouble. Teams haven't tried to post up against DJ very often, so it'll be interesting to see how Lionel Hollins utilizes Lopez here.
Chris Paul has dealt with a few minor injuries this year, but the future Hall of Famer and head of the National Basketball Players Association has been fine as usual. He's averaging 16.6 points and is fourth in the NBA in assists, averaging 8.4 of them a night. He runs the show and will always find his teammates good looks at the basket. Jarrett Jack tends to be a bit shot happy at times, so he'll need to work within the offense and find good jumpshots.
It looks like Bojan Bogdanovic is turning things around. He scored ten points on seven shot attempts against the 76ers andd made two three pointers. When he's an active part of the offense, he plays better and adds a different dimension to the stagnant Nets offense. J.J. Redick is best known for his fantastic three point shooting (career 40 percent and 44 percent this year), but he's a pretty good defender as well. He doesn't make many mistakes and is always in proper position to make the right plays.
Player to watch: Blake Griffin
Yeah, gotta do this. Sorry Blake...
Moving on. Blake's been having another excellent season and is on pace to make the All NBA team again. He's averaging 24 points, 9.5 rebounds, and almost five assists a game on 51.9 percent shooting from the field and 73.3 percent from the free throw line. Since his rookie season, Blake has increased the amount of jumpers he's taken from 16 feet and beyond, and currently 43 percent of his shot attempts come from that range. Most importantly, he's shooting a career best 41.1 percent on those shots. We all know about the dunks, but the versatility in Griffin's game is what makes him such a great player. If the Clippers are to make their first trip to the Conference Finals in franchise history, he'll be the reason why.
Thaddeus Young will have one of his toughest matchups this year. Young has been fantastic for the Nets and quietly one of the better power forwards in the league this season. Young has been crashing the offensive boards a lot more this year and that will come in handy against one of the weaker rebounding teams in the league. Griffin had an early exit from the last game thanks to a flagrant foul two against Taj Gibson, so he'll be well rested and ready to work tonight.
From the Vault
This was the Clippers' last appearance in New Jersey. It didn't end well.
More reading: Clips Nation
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Los Angeles Clippers Game Notes - Los Angeles Clippers
- Clippers-Nets Preview - Justin Einhorn - STATS LLC
- Lionel Hollins slams ‘vocal leadership’ in bizarre rant - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Matchup of Brook Lopez, DeAndre Jordan a study in constrast - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Brooklyn Nets' Thaddeus Young making greatest strides on glass - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Nets' Brown making most of opportunity - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Lionel Hollins: "Too much is made of leadership" - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Preview: Nets Put Streak On The Line vs. Clippers - Cory Wright - Brooklyn Nets
- Numbers reinforce Clippers' struggles so far this season - Dan Woike - Orange County Register
- Playing freely could be a winning formula for the Clippers - Ben Bolch - Los Angeles Times