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Nets wrap up the road trip in Utah

Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Last one before going home. The Brooklyn Nets wrap up their five game road trip tonight. It’s been an injury plagued trip but they came away with a really nice win over the Trailblazers in Portland last night and are 2-2 on the trip.

The opponent tonight will be the Utah Jazz. After losing Gordon Hayward to free agency over the summer, the Jazz have had to retool and figure out how they’re going to function as a team. This is the second half of a back to back for Quin Snyder’s crew. They lost to the Miami Heat last night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network (and NBATV for the out of towners) on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 9 PM.


Trevor Booker has been dealing with a back injury the past few days and his availability is unknown. Tyler Zeller missed last night's game due to an illness and his status for tonight is also unknown. Jarrett Allen is still out.

Joe Johnson is dealing with a wrist injury and will be out. Dante Exum suffered a shoulder injury before the start of preseason and is out.

The game

New team, new role, and new look. After six mostly good seasons in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio is starting over with a new system in Utah. Amazingly, he’s the team’s leading scorer at 15 points a night, but that’s a major red flag. He’s never been a particularly good shooter and that’s continued in Salt Lake City. Danny Chau at The Ringer breaks it down further:

As a result, Rubio’s been forced to take what the defense gives him. The Spaniard may now play ball where the pick-and-roll was mastered, but with such an unprecedented need for his scoring, opponents are getting exactly what they want out of those plays. Rubio is shooting over 45.9 percent on 61 attempts as a ball handler in the pick-and-roll, which is frankly astounding for a career 37.6 percent shooter. What’s troubling is only six of those attempts have come from 3. Teams have historically gone under the screen for Rubio, and that hasn’t changed, even as he’s become more aggressive with his shot. If anything, his willingness to shoot has only pushed Rubio further into the throes of the defense’s game plan: force him into rhythm jump shots in the dreaded midrange. Rubio’s shooting 48 percent from the midrange, but the results are beside the point.

Yikes. As you probably guessed by now, Utah's offense has been a disaster. The offense has been averaging 97.3 points per 100 possessions, third worst in the league on a 48.6 effective field goal percentage, fourth worst in the league. Barring something unforeseen, their offense will be an issue all year long.

When Hayward left, I thought Rodney Hood would step up and replace some of the value Gordon provided. So far, that hasn’t been close to happening. He's shooting a career low 37.3 percent from the field and has been turning the ball over more than usual. Joe Ingles has stepped up to compensate for Hood's struggles, but Utah will need a lot more from Hood.

The lefties saved the day for Brooklyn. Rondae Hollis Jefferson and D'Angelo Russell scored the last 17 points for the Nets and they looked particularly good as a pick and roll duo. We need to come up with a snappy nickname for this duo.

Player to watch: Rudy Gobert

Gobert suffered what appeared to be an ugly knee injury during the game yesterday, but he came back and played. When he's on the floor, he anchors one of the league's best defenses and provides excellent rim protection. As long as he's healthy and playing well, the Jazz will be competitive.

Brooklyn needs more tall people. Their bigs have been injured and the tag team of Timofey Mozgov and Quincy Acy will have to keep it together for one more game. Assuming Booker is good to go, the Nets will some extra hands to help out on the glass.

From the Vault

He’s become a forgotten man of sorts, but there was a time when Deron Williams was a franchise player.

More reading: SLC Dunk