Well, it’s not like that loss to the Warriors was disappointing. Coming off of that win against the Nuggets, we knew the Nets would be gassed, especially with the altitude change. As Steve Kerr noted, back-to-backs involving Denver are the worse. They put up a fight but in the end, the team with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson just ended up the better team. Oh well. Next up are the new-look Timberwolves (we’ll get to that in a minute) as the Nets wrap up this mini Western Conference jaunt. Let’s get into it.
Where To Follow The Game
YES has this one at 8 p.m, a little earlier which is nice.
Late Breaking News: Jarrett Allen is questionable due to illness.
Treveon Graham is still out dealing with his hamstring. Also, Caris Levert came out of the Warriors game but the move seemed like more precautionary. At one point, it looked like he was going going back in, but discretion is the better part of valor and the Nets were down by 20. So, LeVert went back to the bench. He seems like he’ll be good to go for Monday. No mention of him in the injury report.
Derrick Rose (face) and Andrew Wiggins (quad) have both been day-to-day. Jeff Teague missed Friday’s game with a knee contusion, so he’s questionable as well.
Also, it’s highly unlikely that former 76ers’ Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Jerryd Bayless, will play vs. the Nets. The trade call takes place Monday morning, then all the players involved must undergo physicals by game time. Not likely. (Bayless is out anyway with a knee injury.)
As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Wolves were finally able to unload Jimmy Butler. Saric and Covington guys that can flat out play, so this seems like more of a “build the current team out” move than a high upside, high risk move. Losing Butler, however it happened, stinks for Minny. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league and when he’s engaged he can create and score in a lot of different ways. Now we’re just going to have to deal with him on Philly. Great.
The Wolves are vulnerable. They’re 4-9, losers of five straight and next to last in the West and have looked like a mess all season. Now, they’ve just lost their leading scorer. Plus, Derrick Rose is just not going to be playing at that level all year. He’s averaged 24.3 points the last three games and of course scored 50 only last week.
On the other hand, the Nets should be looking to attack Rose on the defensive end where he’s been downright awful so far. Levert and D’Angelo Russell are going to have to take advantage of that.
Down low, Karl Anthony-Towns still remains one of the biggest enigmas in the NBA. His stats are great, but his impact on games day in and day out just don’t scream superstar. There’s also a good chance he puts up a 35-and-15 type game like big, talented centers are want to do against the Nets.
Joe Harris looked great against the Warriors, continuing his amazing season where he’s shooting —and I’m not kidding here — 57.8% from three. I literally had to double check on two websites to make sure I had that right. He has been lights out and a huge part of the Nets success early in this season. Feed Beef Jerky Joe the ball!
Player To Watch
This is somehow Andrew Wiggins fifth year in the league. Something about that blows my mind. I still remember the day he was traded to the Wolves for Kevin Love. Time flies. Also if Cleveland wins another damn lottery this season I’m going to be pissed. Just saying.
Anyway, Wiggins still has all the talent in the world and just can’t seem to put it all together. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays now that Butler is gone. His scoring average is down to 17 points from its peak at 23.6 two seasons ago, and he’ll certainly start getting more shots going forward.
“At the end of the day we just want to win,” Wiggins said after the trade. “It’s not really having a chip on our shoulder that we can win without him. He’s a good player. Every team is going to be better with him. Now we’ve just got to go ahead and try to win. We dug ourselves a hole early and we’ve got to pick it up. That should be our chip, making the playoffs again when we’re counted out.’’
Oh yeah, he’s still only 23.
From The Vault
The Timberwolves are getting rave reviews for their city edition jerseys, inspired by Minneapolis native Prince.
For a different perspective —and their views of the trade, head on over to Canis Hoopus, our sister site on SB Nation.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Minnesota Timberwolves Game Notes - Minnesota Timberwolves
- Timberwolves get ready for Nets, move on from Butler - STATS/TSX
- D’Angelo Russell finally starting to prove his critics wrong - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Why bouncing back from loss to Warriors is imperative for Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets anticipate tough going in Minnesota despite absence of Jimmy Butler - Greg Logan - Newsday
- What the Nets’ involvement in the Jimmy Butler trade talks says about their long-term plans - Michael Scotto - The Athletic New York
- Timberwolves move on without Jimmy Butler - Kent Youngblood - Minneapolis Star-Tribune