Ouch. The Brooklyn Nets had been playing decently (relatively speaking) over the past week and change when they entered Madison Square Garden to play the Knicks on Friday night. The Knicks had been slumping a bit but beat up on the 76ers the game before. All of that went out the window when the Knicks gave Brooklyn a 19 point beating in front of a national TV audience. One step forward, two steps back.
21. The Golden State Warriors are still undefeated and have set the record for longest winning streak to start a season in league history. This is night two of a back-to-back for the champs. The Raptors gave them a hell of a fight (again), but fell short by three points. After this game, the Warriors have three more stops on their seven game road trip (Amazingly, they have ANOTHER seven game trip later in the year, but the All Star break is included so they'll get a little extra rest) before returning home next week.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV (but not if you have Comcast), WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. Tip off is after 6 PM.
Andrea Bargnani is still out with that left hamstring injury. Sergey Karasev didn't practice yesterday with a sprained left ankle and is out. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sprained his right ankle in practice yesterday afternoon and is out as well.
Harrison Barnes has been out of action with a sprained left ankle and looks to be a few weeks away from returning. Andrew Bogut sat out yesterday's game with back spasms and his status for this game is up in the air. Stephen Curry ran into Demarre Carroll's shoulder during the game yesterday, but appears to be ok. Much more on him in a bit.
Check the stats
Offensive Rebounding Rate
Free Throw Rate
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage
The Warriors won the first game (in overtime) last month.
When you're playing like the Dubs are, you're gonna draw comparisons to the greatest teams in league history. Byron Scott thinks his Showtime Lakers could beat the current incarnation of the Warriors. Ron Harper thinks the 1995-1996 Bulls would sweep them. I imagine someone will ask Larry Bird and Danny Ainge if their 1985-1986 Celtics could beat the Dubs when G-State visits their teams later this week. Either way, the Warriors are living in the moment and enjoying the ride.
Without Barnes, Brandon Rush has stepped into the small forward position in the starting lineup. Rush had been a solid contributor until injuries sloweed him down. He had a big game against Sacramento a few weeks ago and had Luke Walton breaking out their best plays for him. Having Rush in the rotation and playing well will provide even more depth for G-State when Barnes returns. Joe Johnson is on the other side and the struggle continues for the former All Star. Like almost every other Net, he didn't play well on Friday, but ended his evening with an ejection after he elbowed Jose Calderon. Things have gotten bad enough that league insiders see Johnson as a prime candidate to be bought out at some point this year.
Simply put, Draymond Green should be an All Star starter this season. Green has improved in almost every statistical category on offense, can initiate the Golden State offense and keep defenses off balance with his passing and decision making, and is more than able to guard big men that have height and weight advantages. When he moves to Center as part of the Warriors' death squad, they become unstoppable. Thaddeus Young was very active the first time he played the Warriors, and he'll need to be just as involved tonight.
If RHJ is out or limited in any way, Bojan Bogdanovic will see an increase in his minutes and responsibilities on the court. Bogdanovic has underachied this year and hasn't been able to lead the bench unit to much success. He was supposed to be the team's best option from three point range this year, but is only shooting 28 percent from deep. Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and our old pal Shaun Livingston can match up with Bojan, and they have the length and quickness needed to chase Bojan off the three point line and force him into contested mid range jumpers.
Bogut missed the first game, and if he's out again, Brook Lopez should see the ball a bunch. He took 21 shots against the Warriors in Oakland, including that missed one at the rim to end the fourth quarter. That was the second highest total of FGA for Lopez this season, and the Nets will need him to have a big game. Festus Ezeli will be guarding Lopez, and Ezeli has played well with Bogut in and out of the lineup.
Player to watch: Stephen Curry
It's not often the league MVP is also its most improved player, but Curry is bending the universe in every way imaginable. He's the leading scorer in the league at 32.6 points a night while shooting 48 percent from the field, 48 percent from three point range, and 90 percent from the free throw line. Steph is scoring at a rate the league has never seen. He's got in the gym range (I mean it, anywhere in the gym) and is on pace to set the record for most three pointers made in a season. Again. Almost forgot to mention that he's scored 40 or more points SEVEN times this season.
Even when Curry doesn't have the ball in his hands, he terrifies defenses. After going through some plays, ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss concludes:
In between torching defenders, the Pied Piper of Panic is leading them astray. When Golden State's offense hums, Curry's forays into nothing can make world-class athletes look like lemmings, walking off a cliff. Maybe that's the scariest thing of all about Stephen Curry these days: He doesn't even need to touch the ball to completely wreck your defense.
If any of you figure out how to slow Curry down, make sure you tell Jarrett Jack first. Jack has been better than expected so far, and Brooklyn will need him to have his best game as a Net tonight. He had a pretty good game the firstgame against the Warriors, but committed a costly turnover in the final seconds of regulation. With the Warriors' ability to bury a team in seconds, the Nets need Jack to make the most out of the team's possessions, keep the turnovers to a minimum, and avoid forced jumpers early in the shot clock. It's unlikely Curry goes 13-31 from the field again.
From the Vault
The Warriors arrive in Brooklyn with the best record in the league and on the second night of a tough back-to-back. Where have we seen that before?
More reading: Golden State Of Mind
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Golden State Warriors Game Notes - >Golden State Warriors
- Warriors-Nets Preview - John Kosik - STATS LLC
- How rest and fun transformed perfect Warriors into a monster - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- After near-miss November upset, Nets get 2nd crack at Warriors - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Why Stephen Curry’s MVP speech ‘humbled’ Nets’ Jarrett Jack - Fred Kerber - New York Post
Stephen Curry had these 15 perceived pre-draft weaknesses - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Nets ready to host unbeaten Warriors - Colin Stephenson - Newsday
- Golden State 'perfect' foe for Nets - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Relationship between Jarrett Jack, Stephen Curry deeper than basketball - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- The Nets are shooting threes like it's 1987 - The Brooklyn Game - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Warriors’ popularity sweeping nation, world - Ron Kroichick, John Shea & Rusty Simmons - San Francisco Chronicle