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Nets host the Kings ... and VC

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Sacramento Kings v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

False alarm, y'all. The Brooklyn Nets came home on Sunday evening after a disastrous game in Toronto hoping to get back on track. They weren’t able to get the job done and lost to the Indiana Pacers by 12 points.

The opponent this evening will be the Sacramento Kings. Over the summer, they added a bunch of veterans to complement their young talent and compete for a playoff spot for the first time in a decade. However, things are the same as usual and they'll likely miss the playoffs again. They came away with an impressive win in Philadelphia against the 76ers last night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Nothing here for the Nets other than Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell. Jahlil Okafor will likely be held out as well.

De’Aaron Fox left last night’s game early due to a quad injury. No word on his status for tonight. George Hill didn’t play yesterday due to an illness, and his status for this one is unknown. Rookie Harry Giles is out due to a knee injury.

The game

First things first: Although he hasn’t made any announcements about it, this might be the last time we see Vince Carter play in a Nets arena. We asked the Nets to somehow honor Carter, but there’s no indication yet that anything is planned. It would be a damn shame if this was the end and no one marked it.

In his four and a half year career in New Jersey, VC was electrifying. While Carter started in Toronto, you can argue his best stretch came as a Net. In those years, playing with Jason Kidd, then Devin Harris, Carter averaged 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He played in 374 of the 385 games he was eligible to play. The Nets lost all 11 games he missed to injury.

‘Nuff said.

Even though Dave Joerger’s team hasn’t had the success they would’ve liked, having the veterans on the roster has been a positive. From Greg Wissinger of Sactown Royalty:

Minutes on the floor does not equal development. The Kings have a lot of young pieces, and have been deliberate in when those players get minutes. When they earn their opportunity, we’ve seen them receive more minutes. De’Aaron Fox looked ready to move into the starting lineup, and Dave Joerger made him a starter. Frank Mason looked great in a few minutes, and Joerger found him more minutes. Justin Jackson got an opportunity to start right away, and didn’t do a lot with that opportunity. He wasn’t a disaster, but he wasn’t great and he moved to the bench.

But what I’m ultimately getting at is that the young guys are getting opportunities to show their ability in small windows. If they perform well, they get more opportunities. I’d love to see more of Skal Labissiere (probably the guy whose minutes I take the most issue with), Justin Jackson, and Malachi Richardson. But I also know it’s a long season, and Joerger has shown a willingness to tinker with his lineups and try new things. I’m not worried that the current rotation will remain the same for the rest of the year.

It's always tricky for teams to manage their young players.

It sounds as if we won’t be seeing Jahlil Okafor for a while. All signs pointed to him making his home debut on Sunday, but he didn’t get off the bench at all. There are questions about his conditioning and as he works more with the Nets, he should find his way on to the court soon. At least I think he will.

With the Kings backcourt hampered by injuries, this presents a big opportunity for Spencer Dinwiddie. He should look to push the pace even faster. Brooklyn is third in the NBA in pace while Sacramento is 28th. When you've got a team that's shorthanded, on the second half of a back to back, and on the last night of their road trip, you should look to run them out the gym.

Player to watch: Zach Randolph

If you told me ten years ago that Z-Bo would become a beloved figure across the league, I’d have called you a liar to your face. Ten years later, we can safely say that Randolph is loved by fans all across the NBA. He's not as excellent as he was during his peak in Memphis, but it's still fun to watch him work in the mid post. And he still doesn't bluff.

Rondae Hollis Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll will spilt duty guarding Z-Bo. They're both lacking the size needed to defend him in the post, so we might see a bit more of Jarrett Allen to compensate for that.

From the Vault

. If this really is the last time we see VC, let’s send our man out in style

More reading: Sactown Royalty