Who saw that coming? The Brooklyn Nets went into New Orleans to play the Pelicans, and they wound up having one of their best games of the season. They avoided the third quarter trap and cruised to a dominating 143-114 win last night. The win did two things for Kenny Atkinson's crew. It snapped an 11 game losing streak and a 15 game road losing streak. It's the dawn of a new day, or something.
The opponent tonight will be the Charlotte Hornets. In a crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Hornets find themselves looking to move all the way up to the fourth seed so they could have homecourt advantage in the first round. They played the Toronto Raptors last night and beat them down by 35 points. They've won their last two games after going through a five game losing streak. They get to stay home for a few more days as they host the Wizards on Monday and wrap up their homestand against the Warriors on Wednesday.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 on radio. Tip off after 7.
Jeremy Lin is still out. Joe Harris is out with a sprained right ankle. Trevor Booker and Sean Kilpatrick were given last night off for rest. They should be on the court this evening.
Jeremy Lamb has been dealing with a foot injury and will be out.
Up top, I mentioned that the Hornets are trying to move up to the fourth seed. As of this writing, they're in seventh and only one game over .500. They should be better than this, and quinneverts of At the Hive identifies one of Charlotte's biggest problems:
That bodes well for Brooklyn. The Nets are 26th in three point percentage, but third in attempts per game. Maybe tonight will be a night where they get great looks from deep.
On the other side, they're going to have their hands full with Kemba Walker. With the high quality of point guard play, Walker had a great case to be named a starter to the Eastern Conference All Star team. Although he came up short, he should be named to the team when reserves are announced next week. We keep waiting for Walker's three point shooting to fall off, but maybe it won't. On the season, he's shooting 41.5 percent from deep and in his last ten games, he's shooting 46.2 percent. He's still a great driver and finisher at the rim, and now that he's successfully incorporated the three pointer into his repertoire, he's become even more difficult to guard.
Player to watch: Nicolas Batum
In his second year with Charlotte, Batum has continued to fill his role as the secondary option. Although his shooting from the field and three point range are at career lows, he's making up for it by getting to the free throw line more and turning the ball over at his lowest rate in five years. He's still a quality defender and as long as he does everything else on the court, the Hornets can live with some poor shooting.
Tonight is another opportunity for Caris Levert to show out. The rookie went a perfect 6-6 from the field (including 3-3 from deep) while handing out a career high six assists. He's been playing well this entire month and has earned a permanent spot in the rotation. I wouldn't be surprised if he entered the starting lineup before this season ends.
From the Vault
Around this time last year, Kemba set the Hornets franchise scoring record.
More reading: At the Hive
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Charlotte Hornets Game Notes - Charlotte Hornets
- Preview: Brooklyn Nets vs. Charlotte Hornets - Yahoo! Sports
- Nets look to add another road win against Hornets - STATS LLC
- Charlotte Hornets got sick enough of mediocrity to do something about it - Rick Bonnell - Charlotte Observer
- Nets look to one-up their surprise victory with a winning streak in Charlotte - Benny Nadeau - The Brooklyn Game
- How to Net the W: Nets vs. Charlotte Hornets 01/21/17 - Matthew Pisani - Brook-Lin