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Nets end January in New Orleans

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

More of the same. The Brooklyn Nets went into Dallas on Friday night, fell behind by a bunch, fought back, and ended up losing anyway. This is the second night of a back-to-back for the Nets. They return home on Monday to face the Pistons.

Awaiting Brooklyn will be the New Orleans Pelicans. After a disastrous start, NOLA has turned things around. They've won four out of their last five games, including Thursday night's victory over the Sacramento Kings. They're only three games behind eighth seeded Utah, but the schedule next week will be difficult. They're playing Memphis, San Antonio and Cleveland along with the Lakers.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7 PM.

Injuries

Nothing new for Brooklyn.

Anthony Davis suffered a concussion on Monday and missed Thursday's game. He's questionable for tonight. Tyreke Evans has been bothered by knee tendinitis this week and also missed Thursday's game. He's also questionable for this game.

The game

Let's check it out

2015-2016

Brooklyn

New Orleans

Record

12-35 17-28

Pace

96.66 98.5

Offensive Efficiency

98.2 103.4

Defensive Efficiency

105.9 106.2

Turnover Rate

15.4 13.6

Assist Rate

16.5 16.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24 21

Rebound Rate

49.7 48.8

Free Throw Rate

22.9 25.6

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.8 49.9

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 51.2

Even with the Pels playing better, all isn't well. David Fisher of The Bird Writes lays it out for us:

But it gets worse! Imagine this team does meander in the woods of NBA mediocrity until Anthony Davis is traded away or departs in free agency. Does the fan base have the stomach for tanking again in 2020? What about the franchise staying in New Orleans after the lease is up in 2024? Rebuilds take time and if the Pelicans have to press reset four years from now that might mark the end of the NBA in New Orleans, full stop. Ask Seattle what it's like to see the franchise draft two superstars while tanking only to be moved when the team takes flight.

Yikes. As we get closer to the deadline, it will be interesting to see what the Pelicans do.

An old friend of ours is on the trading block. Former Net Ryan Anderson has drawn interest from the Detroit Pistons, although it appears the Pelicans want to keep him. It's easy to see why teams would be interested in Ryno. He's a good three point shooter, draws big men away from the rim with his jumper, is a decent rebounder, and is a capable third or fourth option for your offense. If Davis is out again, the offense will run through him. That should lead to a busy night for Thaddeus Young.

Omer Asik had been bothered by a calf injury earlier in the year, but he appears to have gotten over it. His minutes have increased each month and he's gotten more active on the boards as a result. When he's at his best, he's an excellent defensive big man that thwarts shots at the rim and can take the opposing center out of the game. Brook Lopez has been one of the few bright spots this year, and it'll be up to him to carry the Nets. He scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds last night, but perhaps more importantly, he got to the free throw line 11 times, his second highest total this year. With Davis' status up in the air, if the Nets are able to get Asik in early foul trouble, they'll get to the underbelly of New Orleans' bench.

With this being the second leg of a b2b, you would think the starters' minutes might decrease a bit. However, the Nets bench could only muster two points on 1-14 shooting last night so it'll be up to the starters to carry the load. Brooklyn is already at a disadvantage when the game begins, and the inability of the bench to be consistently productive makes the team's life even more difficult.

Player to watch: Jrue Holiday

Holiday is all the way back from the leg injuries that derailed his 2014-2015 season and figures to be with the Pels for the foreseeable future. His minutes restriction was recently lifted, and he's responded by playing his best basketball since joining New Orleans. In January, he's averaging 17.4 points in 29 minutes a game, and while his shooting percentages have decreased a bit, that could be a function of carrying an increased load on offense. What's even more encouraging for NOLA is Holiday has managed to cut down on his turnovers even as he's taken more responsibility in running Alvin Gentry's offense.

Donald Sloan still isn't much of a scoring threat, but to his credit, he has scored 10+ points in five out of the last six games. He's shot a team best 42.9 percent from three point range this year, and for a club that doesn't have much three point shooting outside of Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic, any help they get from other players is greatly appreciated. Most of his efforts should be focused on keeping Holiday in check. Jrue is driving to the basket a lot more than usual and has taken the majority of his shots inside of three feet. Subsequently, he's getting to the line at a career high rate. If Brooklyn can limit his penetration, they have a good chance of winning.

From the Vault

With the news that Sting will be the halftime act in Toronto for the All Star Game, let's take a quick trip back to 2014 and watch Trombone Shorty perform in NOLA at the 2014 NBA All Star Game.

More reading: The Bird Writes