So much for that. The Brooklyn Nets had won three straight games when they went to Washington DC to play the Wizards and begin their eight game road trip. Unfortunately for them, it got off to a real bad start with a 37 point demolition. The Nets are tied with the Miami Heat for eighth in the East, but the Heat own the tiebreaker. Both teams are one half game behind the Charlotte Hornets. This is the first night of a back-to-back for Brooklyn. They travel down to Memphis to play the Southwest Division leading Grizzlies on Tuesday night to close out the first half.
Waiting for the Nets will be the 28-23 Milwaukee Bucks. It's been a great season for them and they are coming off of a home win against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. The Bucks have won six out of their last seven games and are in the sixth position in the conference standings, six games ahead of the Hornets. They have one more game before heading to the All Star break on Wednesday against Sacramento.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on the television and WFAN 101.9 on the radio. Tip off is set for after 8:00 PM.
Mirza Teletovic is out for the season.
Jabari Parker and Kendall Marshall are both out for the season. Larry Sanders is gone from the team with no return in sight. Our old friend Kenyon Martin is questionable with an ankle injury and Kevin Garnett nemesis Zaza Pachulia is also questionable for this contest.
What's up? Let's get into the details:
Offensive Rebounding Rate
Free Throw Rate
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage
The Bucks won the first meeting back in December.
Saturday was a disaster for the Nets, and Marcin Gortat decided to make it a bit worse after the game. Of his team's 37 point win, he said:
At the end of the day, it’s Brooklyn. We can’t get too excited.
Damn. Barring a meeting in the first round of the playoffs, the next and last time the Nets play the Wizards will be on April 10 in Brooklyn. Then again, it was only three weeks ago that the Nets beat the Wizards by 22 with Gortat getting schooled by Lopez.
Ten days away from the trading deadline. Nothing new on the rumor front, but things can change at a moment's notice.
I don't think anybody saw this coming. Going into the season, I asked Frank Madden of Brew Hoop what would be a successful season for the Bucks:
They can reach that by the All Star break if they win their next two games. What makes this even more impressive is that they've done it without Parker and Sanders. For as unseemly as he may be, it's hard to knock the job Jason Kidd has done with this team.
Kevin Garnett figures to be back in the lineup, but if the season so far is any indication, the Nets might be better off if he sits this out. Garnett doesn't play the second halves of back-to-backs, and tomorrow night, the Nets have to contend with the frontcourt duo of
Run the Jewels Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. If he does play tonight, the Nets will need for him to play on Tuesday night as well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is continuing to develop as a player. He's become more confident in his jumper recently and it's helped him to shoot 51 percent from the field, an almost ten point improvement from last season. He's cut out the three pointer from his repertoire, and he's taken a lot more shots near the rim as compared to his rookie year. His length is a major benefit and he will use that to his advantage when he guards Joe Johnson. Johnson has the size on GIannis when he posts up, but look for him to spend most of the night on the outside. On a different note, he and Mason Plumlee will be in the dunk contest this weekend. Maybe we get a mini preview tonight.
Brook Lopez is still playing well for the Nets. Over the last six games, the big fella is averaging around 21 points and eight rebounds on 52 percent shooting from the field. What makes this incredibly valuable for the Nets is that the overwhelming majority of his shot attempts have come from within the painted area. As it so happens, the team has scored over 100 points in four of those games. Here is where the Bucks could have used Sanders. When he was playing and focused, he was one of the better low post defenders and rim protectors in the Association. As such, John Henson will see a lot of Lopez. Even if Garnett plays, Lopez will the see the majority of minutes and with the Bucks a bit thin up front, he should lead the team in scoring once again.
Player to watch: Brandon Knight
Let's just get this out the way right now:
It happens to the best of us.
That aside, Knight has had a great season and is someone that had a pretty good case for being named to the All Star team. He's got career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage (total, three point and free throw). Playing under Kidd has done wonders for him and he is starting to display the potential that made him a lottery pick back in 2011. He's always done well in getting to the rim, and having the three pointer going opens up more scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
The point guard combo of Jarrett Jack and Deron Williams will try to give a better performance this time around. The two combined to shoot 3-20 (Williams went 0-8) on Saturday. They're both bigger than Knight and can use that size when they venture into the post or to pressure him on the ball. Knight is quicker than both of them and when he drives past them, it'll be up to Lopez and Plumlee to thwart him off at the rim.
From the Vault
The Rookie-Sophomore game will take place at the Barclays Center on Friday night. With that in mind, head on back to 1997 and catch members of the fabled 1996 Draft class compete in the game. Keep an eye out for ex Net Kerry Kittles and almost Net Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
More reading: Brew Hoop
- Brooklyn Nets: Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks Game Notes - Milwaukee Bucks
- Nets-Bucks Preview - Taylor Bechtold - STATS LLC
- How hope has turned to frustration for Deron Williams - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets exude confidence ahead of facing Jason Kidd, Bucks - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
Preview: Bucks vs. Nets - Charles F. Gardner - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
- Aggressive style on defense keeps Bucks competitive - Charles F. Gardner - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel