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Nets test their mettle vs. Golden State Saturday

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh boy. The Nets are cooking right now after that late night last-second win over Denver. Caris Levert did it again, and I would like it to be public information that I quite literally danced for a solid 30 seconds after he sunk that final shot.

Wow.

I was ready to write about how the Nets blew another winnable game, but nope. Even if play was sloppy and at times downright stagnant, Brooklyn pulled this one off. Next up is the Warriors.

Gulp.

Usually this is the kind of game the Nets might be resigned to lose but in the midst of a winning streak that has reached three games? They’re going to put up a fight. Might the Nets catch the Warriors sleeping in a lazy regular season game? Maybe. But it’s also Saturday night in Oracle Arena. Let’s get into it.

Where To Follow The Game

YES and WFAN at 8:30 p.m., ET.

Injuries

Treveon Graham (hamstring) is still out and while that stinks, it’s great to see the Nets (basically) healthy otherwise. DeMarre Carroll debuted vs. Denver and had nine points including a crucial three late.

DeMarcus Cousins (achilles) is out for a while. Draymond Green (toe) missed Thursday’s game against the Bucks as did Shaun Livingston (right foot). They won’t return for this one.

Then, in very recent news, Steph Curry was ruled out of the Brooklyn game with an adductor strain he suffered late against Milwaukee Wednesday. Curry has been off the charts all season long and it’s certainly a blow for the Warriors. Hope it’s not too serious.

The Game

Even with Steph Curry out for this one, you probably won’t be shocked to hear that the Warriors are probably not hitting the panic button just yet. After a cold start, Klay Thompson exploded for 52 points in 26 minutes against Chicago, and since we last saw him at Barclays he’s 28.6 points and shooting 52.2% from three. His early season funk is effectively over.

D’Angelo Russell got some serious crunch time burn against Denver and it didn’t hurt! It actually helped! Maybe playing the starting point guard in the final six minutes of a close game may be a good idea after all! Just a thought. He and Caris had another solid group backcourt effort putting up 23 and 17 points, respectively.

Kenny Atkinson’s offense lives and dies on the perimeter and the two young guards are really starting to mature to the point where they can attack the game in a variety of ways without it getting out of their control. It’s been awesome to watch. And in order to beat a team like the Warriors it’s going to have to continue.

Having DeMarre Carroll back is also important. He’s not fully in shape yet and won’t play impactful minutes, but he’s literally another solid body Atkinson can throw at a guy like Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson. Sometimes you just need people who know where to be on defense, and Carroll is one of those guys.

If the Nets come out of Oracle with a win, it’ll likely be due to a great team effort and a couple of exceptional individual performances. It’s just necessary against a team that good and that talented. You can’t beat the Warriors with your best players playing just OK, is what I’m saying.

Player To Watch

Kevin Durant puts up 30 points when he’s asleep. With Steph and Draymond out, he’s going to have full control of this offense. He’s in the cockpit of a VERY dangerous fighter jet, and you know he’s going to go full throttle. There are no individual Nets that can stop him (this is a man who hits 30 footers over Lebron in the Finals) but Kenny is going to have to scheme something up to try and slow him down even a little bit. He makes me nervous though. Very nervous.

From The Vault

Enjoy.

For a different perspective, head on over to Golden State of Mind, our SB Nation sister site.