The road trip is off to a familiar start. The Nets fell behind by a bunch, fought to make it close in the fourth quarter, but ended up losing anyways. This time the defeat came at the hands of the Portland Trailblazers as they extended their winning streak to six games in a row with a 112-104 victory on Tuesday night. For Brooklyn, tonight represents one of their best chances at getting a win on this trip.
Waiting for the Nets will be the Phoenix Suns. At the start of the year, there was hope that they might compete for the eighth seed if everything broke their way. Yeah, about that. They've had a catastrophic season and are focused on next year. They've lost 12 straight games, including a 40 point smackdown delivered by the Clippers on Monday night.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV, WCBS 880 AM on radio. Late start again so tip is after 9 PM.
Rondae Hollis Jefferson is healing up from ankle surgery, but won't be playing. Jarrett Jack is done for the season.
Eric Bledsoe was having a great season, but tore the meniscus in his left knee in late December. He's out the rest of the year. Tyson Chandler hurt his shoulder on Friday and hasn't played since. His status for tonight is unknown. Brandon Knight has been out since the middle of January but hopes to return soon.
Check it out
Offensive Rebounding Rate
Free Throw Rate
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage
The Nets won the first matchup in December.
Phoenix is a mess. Jeff Hornacek was put out of his misery at the beginning of the month and was replaced by CJ Watson. Before he got traded to Washington, Markieff Morris yoked Archie Goodwin up on the bench. It should also be noted that Kieff still has a case open for rolling five deep in a Rolls Royce Phantom to put hands on a dude who was trying to get with their mom. And to top it off, here's Robert Sarver enlightening us about millenials:
"My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks, and Markieff Morris is the perfect example. He had a setback with his brother in the offseason and he can't seem to recover from it."
It's not all doom and gloom in Phoenix. Bledsoe is one of the better guards in the league and is someone that can help them be competitive again in the future. Devin Booker has been having a nice rookie season and is someone Suns fans and management think very highly of. And if they continue to play horribly, they'll be picking near the top of the upcoming Draft. It's incredibly ugly right now, but if Ryan McDonough plays his cards right, Phoenix could be competing for a playoff spot sooner rather than later.
Brook Lopez has been sensational as of late and he should be able to keep it up tonight. The big guy scored a season high 36 points and was three points away from tying his career high of 39 points. With Chandler hobbled, the Nets ought to force feed Lopez the ball at every turn. Phoenix is allowing teams to shoot 63.2 percent inside of the restricted area, third highest in the NBA. Alex Len
The Nets increased efficiency from three point range should come in handy tonight. The Suns have been one of the worst three point defenses in the NBA this year, allowing opponents to make 38 percent of their attempts from deep. Since Tony Brown's insertion into the head coach position (January 11), Brooklyn has shot 39 percent from three point range, fourth best in the NBA. Brooklyn's three point defense isn't any better, so we'll be seeing a bunch of threes thrown up tonight.
We get to see two old friends of ours. Kris Humphries came over from the Wizards in the Morris trade and will get some playing time with Chandler out.
Player to watch: Devin Booker
Booker is the only thing worth watching on the Suns right now. Although he hasn't shot 50 percent from the field in a game since January 29, he's been having a good rookie season. He's seventh among rookies in scoring and has made 39.7 percent of his shots from deep. He also made it to the final round of the Three Point Contest and had a nice showing for the national/international audience. Over at Bright Side of the Sun, Ray Hrovat discussed Booker and wrote:
19 year old Booker certainly looks like a future star: a spectacular shooter who's rounding out the rest of his game quickly as a young rookie. His maturity, poise and basketball IQ are extremely impressive for a teenager. The Suns are a train wreck this season, but the chaos surrounding Booker doesn't appear to be fazing him at all.
Brooklyn didn't see much of Booker the first time around, so this'll be a nice challenge for Bojan Bogdanovic and Markel Brown.
From the Vault
Kevin Johnson is a candidate to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this spring. Games like this are a good example of what he provided the Suns for close to a decade.
More reading: Bright Side Of The Sun
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Phoenix Suns Game Notes - Phoenix Suns
- Nets-Suns Preview - Scott Garbarini - STATS LLC
- Nets: Brook Lopez the bright spot in lost Nets season - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Brook Lopez has been so good, he’s altering Nets’ schemes - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- The Nets are inevitable - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Tale of two road trips for Islanders, Nets - John Torenli - Brooklyn Daily Eagle
- Preview: Nets vs. Suns - Cory Wright - Brooklyn Nets
- Phoenix Suns get tough love as losing streak grows - Paul Coro - Arizona Republic