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Let weirdness flow! Nets vs. Hornets in Charlotte Friday

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NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Brooklyn Nets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Where to even begin? The Nets played one of the most bizarre, confusing, exhilarating, weird weird weird basketball games the NBA has seen in awhile. Every time we thought it couldn’t get weirder, it did. Even LeBron James tweeted about it! If you want a full recap, the wonderful Anthony Puccio knocked it out of the park here, but in case you aren’t in the mood to click on a link right now, I’ll catch you up to speed real quick.

The Nets and Hornets played a close game all the way through, then Kemba Walker decided he wanted to close the game out and the Hornets went up late in the fourth. The Nets came back, both teams hit about a million threes, and then DeMarre Carroll missed 2 of 3 free throws that would have won the game. Two overtimes followed, more back and forth, and finally at the end of overtime No. 2, Joe Harris reminded us all why we love him so much, grabbing the ball from Malik Monk and laying it up with just seconds to go. There was a buzzer issue after that, but Harris wrapped the game up. His second game-sealing steal in basically a week (he did it against Chicago as well). Words cannot do the game justice, it was wild. I take notes during most games and at one point wrote “I give up, this game is bizarre” and that was before overtime.

The Nets still sit ninth in the East, but just half a game behind Miami and Charlotte and one game behind the Pistons who are the 6th seed after last night (and sliding). The Nets and Hornets will both fly back to Charlotte and prepare themselves for yet another game against each other. I cannot think of a better time for an immediate rematch than after a game like that, the basketball gods are having a little fun with us. It’s going to be a good one. Let’s get into it.

Where To Follow The Game

YES and WFAN have the rematch at 7:00 pm, ET.

Injuries

Caris Levert (foot) Treveon Graham (hamstring) Allen Crabbe (knee) and Dzanan Musa (shoulder) are all out. It’s sad I can write that all out from memory at this point. Get well soon. Please. Crabbe had his first full practice Thursday since going down seven games back with knee soreness. Maybe Saturday in Milwaukee, when the Nets will be playing their third game in four days?

The Hornets, unless someone pulled something on Wednesday or is sitting due to exhaustion, are still healthy.

The Game

Double Overtime means a lot of minutes. Here are the Nets who played at least 35 in ascending order: Jared Dudley, Rodions Kurucs, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. That’s a lot of guys. For Charlotte, Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, and Jeremy Lamb all played over 42. Jeremy Lamb played a game high 49!

My Point: There are going to be some tired legs, even with a day of rest. Here’s a fun thing though, the Nets starting point guard and center, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen, both only played limited minutes ... 27 and 23 respectively. I listed them by name in case you’d forgotten, since both were mostly MIA in the final three quarters (4th, first, and second overtimes) of action. Allen checked in at one point to guard an inbounds pass, but otherwise both had really great seats to one of the best games of the season. Could’ve sold them on StubHub for a good price.

It probably isn’t worth questioning Kenny Atkinson too much for this because the Nets won the game and apparently the defensive scheme he pulled out was a huge part of stopping Kemba which you can also read about here because Puccio is a machine and doesn’t stop even for double overtime. If there’s a silver lining it’s that those two will be well-rested and ready to go friday. And if D’Angelo wants to get into that closing lineup again, he knows he’s going to have to play well.

Not that he played that poorly to begin with, but Spencer Dinwiddie was absolutely the guard that deserved to be out there the end of that game. He finished with 37 points, 11 assists, and a career-high 7 threes. Joe Harris was second on the team with 27 points, and some of the most clutch shooting we’ve seen from a Net since Joe Johnson was in town.

To round it out, RHJ played his ass off and ended with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists. He just wills himself into being a positive impact player and it’s awesome. Also, Rodions Kurucs did his best Andrei Kirilenko impression with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block. He also got hit with a Tech and his fourth foul in the third quarter but played the end of the entire game, finishing with five fouls. Impressive for the rookie.

Brooklyn had trouble with Charlotte’s backcourt, with Kemba going for 35 and Jeremy Lamb 31. The Hornets, and especially Kemba, are going to be gunning for a revenge win on friday and it’s going to be imperative the Nets contain them as much as possible. I’m not sure if the box-and-one is a strategy worth implementing from the tip, but if Kemba starts heating up again it will absolutely be worth going back to until he’s quelled.

The Hornets are sneakily deep, and guys like Marvin Williams, Nic Batum, and Tony Parker all hit big shots and made big plays at some point in the game. It’s a veteran team, which actually makes the Nets win all the more impressive. Remember, the average age of the Nets starting lineup is 22.4 years old. Charlotte is not bad by any means. They’re well coached, seem to gel together as a unit, and have an All-Star caliber leader. This means they’re going to bring it in the rematch. They’re more resilient than say, the Wizards, for example. And they’re back at home.

The Nets will be ready though. This is a team finally getting a taste of real, sustained winning which can be a powerful thing. Let’s hope they get a little addicted.

Of course, it should be noted all this was foretold by the Prophet Ed...

Player To Watch

If he isn’t too tired, this could be the kind of game Kemba decided to take over. He’s scored more than 40 points three times already this season, one of which was a 60-pointer against Philly. James Borrego is going to try and free him up if he gets schemed out again, and if the Nets aren’t prepared they might look up and see a big old number next to Walker’s name. At one point in the fourth on Wednesday, he scored 12 straight points. We’ll see if he takes after owner and goes full MJ in this one.

From The Vault

Speaking of Michael Jordan, he’s really fun to watch highlights of and this is a great excuse to for me to do that. Here are some fun ones. Also I’ll leave you a bonus video of Ichiro and Michael Jordan meeting in 1995 which is one of my all time favorite YouTube finds.

Enjoy.

For a different perspective, head on over to At the Hive, our Hornets sister site on SB Nation. They’re still recovering, too.