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Nets begin March in Sacramento

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BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2017 Photo by Bob Donnan - Pool/Getty Images

It's a sweet sixteen, but it’s not March Madness and we’re not celebrating anybody's birthday. On the second night of a back-to-back, the Brooklyn Nets went into Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors. Brooklyn gave a good effort, but still lost by 17. They've got a long way to go before they come back home.

The opponent tonight will be the Sacramento Kings. The team has consistently been in turmoil and this latest run is no exception. They played the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday and lost by double digits. It’s going to be a long, ugly road from here on out.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 10 PM.

Injuries

Quincy Acy practiced Tuesday in San Francisco but there’s no decision on his playing status Wednesday night.. Caris Levert missed Monday’s game, but is expected to start Wednesday The Nets have yet to have all 15 players healthy for a single game this season. This might be the night.

Aaron Afflalo didn’t play on Monday and his status

The game

The Kings won the first game back in November.

Boogie gone. After six and a half years, the Kings decided to move on and send DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. They sent him to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and a platter of draft picks. The move was roundly criticized by fans and writers across the league and has made Sacramento the laughingstock of the NBA. Over at Sactown Royalty, Tim Maxwell didn’t hold back, writing:

Vlade Divac will have to get everything right from here on out. The fate of the franchise depends on it.

Willie Cauley-Stein has stepped his game up this half. With Cousins gone, he’s seen his minutes shoot up to 32.5 a nigh While he’s been out there, While he’s been out there, he’s been averaging 15 points and six rebounds on 50 percent shooting. Trill gets almost all of his offenses on putbacks and pick and rolls. He still has room to get better, but if he can put a good string of games together, he’ll be someone worth keeping in Sacramento.

Brook Lopez will be the anchor inside for the Nets tonight. Like most nights, they should look to feature the big man early and often. Sacramento is a bit thin up front and if Lopez can exploit that, he’ll carry the Nets to a win.

Jeremy Lin has played under 15 minutes in each of his games since coming back, and that number could rise to the 18-20 minute range, Greg Logan tweets. That means a second run in the second half after a third quarter start. The Nets will ease him back slowly and hope that he can play every night out the rest of the way.

Various Nets said the team’s last two practices have been intense, with Brook Lopez referring to one as “hostile.”

Ty Lawson is running the point these days for Dave Joerger. Lawson has been on four teams in three years, but appears to be settled down.

Player to watch: Buddy Hield

Ready or not, Buddy Hield will have to be the face of the franchise. Vivek Ranadive thinks he has the potential to become as good as Stephen Curry, and while that is crazy to even suggest, hope is all he has left. While he’s shot 50 percent from the field as a King, he hasn’t done much else on the court. He’s only 23 and will be given every opportunity imaginable to show that he can be a solid player for Sacramento.

The other rookie in this game will be Caris Levert. He’s done well in the time he’s been on the court and will be one of the most important players to keep an eye on as we wind down the Nets season. He’s only played 34 minutes with Jeremy Lin and it’s important that they have a chance to develop some chemistry with one another. Having a guard that can get to the rim like Lin will help create easier scoring opportunities for Levert and the rest of the Nets.

From the Vault

Chris Webber is up for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame this spring. I like C-Webb’s chances.

More reading: Sactown Royalty