Not quite. In search of their second straight win and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Brooklyn Nets went into Charlotte to face the Hornets. They put up a good fight, but ultimately fell short 112-105 on Saturday night. The team has one more home game on Wednesday before they head out of town for a quick three game road trip.
Coming into town tonight will be the San Antonio Spurs. Last year, while the Warriors were setting records atop the Western Conference, the Spurs were very close to them in the standings. This year, while the Warriors are setting records atop the Westeen Conference, the Spurs are very close to them in the standings. They've won their last three games, including a 118-115 overtime thriller against the Cavs in Cleveland on Saturday night. Unfortunately for them, this is the first night of a back-to-back. They're in Toronto to play the Raptors tomorrow night.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.
No Jeremy Lin. Joe Harris missed Saturday's game due to a sprained ankle and he’s out again Monday. Justin Hamilton was given Saturday off to rest so he should be out there tonight.
Pau Gasol broke his left hand on Thursday and will be out indefinitely. Tony Parker is dealing with an injured foot and is out. Manu Ginobili is questionable.
San Antonio won the first meeting last month.
It was a pretty busy weekend. The Presidential Inauguration was on Friday in DC and a variety of Women's Marches took place all over the world on Saturday (including Antartica!) Gregg Popovich was asked about it before the game on Saturday and said:
“But I felt great today watching the march, in protest to how he has conducted himself, because it tells me I really do live in a country where a lot of people care. We have to be vigilant, to be sure. Although we all hope he does good things for our country, that we don’t get embarrassed by him and roll back liberties that have been worked for for so long in so many different areas.”
The next four years promise to be incredibly fascinating, and with the NBA community being more vocal on social matters, seeing how they respond will be worth watching.
Kawhi Leonard continues to excel. He scored 41 over the weekend vs. the Cavaliers, a career high. Over the past six games, he’s averaging better than 34. The star forward has seen his scoring average increase each season he's been in the league and is curently averaging a career high 25.5 points a game on a 49/41.3/91.2 shooting split. In a normal year, he'd be mentioned in MVP discussions. However, with the record breaking play of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Kawhi has become a bit of an afterthought in those talks.
With Leonard on the other side, Rondae Hollis Jefferson will have his hands full. He's only gotten one start since the beginning of December (remember he missed three games at the end of November due to injury) and has averaged around 20 minutes a game in that time span. Leonard can score from everywhere on the court and in a variety of fashions, so I wouldn't be surprised if RHJ played at least 25 minutes tonight. Caris Levert should get some time guarding Leonard as well. Levert has continued to impress and the more challenges presented to him, the more experience he'll acquire.
With Parker hurt, this will give Dejounte Murray an extended audition at the PG spot. Murray was taken 29th in the Draft and has looked pretty good in his last two games. If he can continue to play well, Pop might increase his role in the rotation going forward. On the other side is Isaiah Whitehead. He’s had to fill in as the starter while Lin has been out, and he’s done the best he can in a difficult spot. One encouraging sign for him is the lack of turnovers recently. He’s only committed four turnovers in his last five games. If he can continue to limit his turnovers, he can become the primary backup when Lin returns.
Also, expect a lot of hugging on the sidelines and behind the stands. Sean Marks, who was assistant GM of the Spurs before taking the Nets job, has populated his front office with Spurs alumni. We count at least seven front office staffers with a Spurs background, starting with lead assistant coach Jacque Vaughn and assistant GM Trajan Langdon.
Side note: Mikhail Prokhorov and Dmitry Razumov are in from Moscow this week.
Player to watch: David Lee
I didn't realize this until Mike Breen mentioned it on the ABC broadcast Saturday night, but Lee's been in the league 12 seasons now. He's been a good player everywhere he's been and has fit in nicely coming off the bench. With Pau out for at least a month, he'll be starting for the time being. He's a load to handle and he earns his team extra possessions with his hard work on the offensive glass. He's also a pretty capable passer and on a team that thrives on excellent ball movement, he fits in like a glove.
Brook Lopez is in line for a big game. For all the great things Lee provides, he's still a poor defender. That should help Lopez and with the Spurs thin up front, Lopez's ability to draw fouls should create trouble for them.
From the Vault
Leonard is currently in the middle of a 30+ point per game scoring streak. Similar streaks have occurred three times in Spurs history. One of those was with David Robinson in 1994.
More reading: Pounding the Rock
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- San Antonio Spurs Game Notes - San Antonio Spurs
- Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets - Yahoo! Sports
- Leonard excelling as Spurs visit lowly Nets - STATS LLC
- How relentlessly passing is transforming how the Nets play - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ second unit making its presence felt on ‘D’ - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Discussing Kawhi Leonard’s 41-point performance in win over Cavs - Jabari Young - San Antonio Express-News
- Spurs visit reeling Nets on Monday - KSAT