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Nets visit Warriors ... who MAY be the NBA’s best

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Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Nope. The Brooklyn Nets had a chance to come away with a great road win on Sunday evening, but as is the norm with them these days, fell short in the end. The Clippers pushed Brooklyn's road losing streak to eight and overall losing streak to three.

The opponent tonight will be the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. but a half-game back of the Rockets in the Western Conference. The Dubs are in a... peculiar position. Their season really doesn't matter until mid May (or whenever the Western Conference Finals start) so they essentially have nothing to play for other than the lead dog position in the playoffs. That said, they've been bum rushing teams as usual. It just doesn’t look that spectacular when compared to the Rockets 15-game winning streak.

They're been off since Friday after beating the Hawks on Friday and extending their winning streak to five in the process.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Last late night affair of the season so we'll be starting after 10:30.

Injuries

Jahlil Okafor is healthy but was a DNP vs. the Clippers. Isaiah Whitehead remained behind to get minutes with the Long Island Nets. Other than Jeremy Lin, the Nets roster is healthy!

Steph Curry is currently dealing with an ankle injury of his own, having left the Hawks game early. It doesn't appear to be too serious and he's expected to play. Jordan Bell recently returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for six weeks.

The game

The Warriors won the first meeting in November.

In all likelihood, this game will be decided in the third quarter. The Dubs lead the league in third quarter efficiency, outscoring teams by 21.5 points per 100 possessions. One well placed run by the Warriors will cause everyone on the East Coast to turn the game off and get some extra sleep before work the next day. For what it's worth, Brooklyn has been one of the better third quarter teams in the league this year.

D'Angelo Russell is gonna have his hands full. In all likelihood, he'll start the game guarding Steph Curry. Curry's numbers are right in line with his MVP years and he's getting to the free throw line even more than usual. For DLo, he'll have to play perfect pick and roll defense and make sure he's attached to Steph at all times.

Surprisingly (to me at least), the Dubs are only 11th in three point attempts per game despite being second in pace. Unsurprisingly, they're first in efficiency. Brooklyn is in the bottom third of the league in three point efficiency despite being second in attempts. The Nets will need to go crazy from deep and hope G State is sloppy with the ball (they're second in turnover rate).

Then, there’s the issue of making that unwieldy backcourt work. Spencer Dinwiddie has taken some grief after his scoring, in particular, dropped off after the All-Star Break and with the return of first DLo and now Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

“I didn’t go to All-Star break and suddenly lose my powers,” Dinwiddie told Alex Labidou of the Nets official site. “When they got hurt [Russell and Lin], I didn’t all of the sudden gain my powers. I’m still the same guy, we’re just going to try to figure it out. “

Player to watch: Kevin Durant

He does more than dribble. I recently came across this KD quote via Kerith Burke's Twitter account and wanted to share it:

It's a beautiful thing to see people openly discussing mental health in public forums.

On the court, Durant is up to his usual tricks. He has a decent chance to pull off a historical feat this year. If he wins Defensive Player of the Year, he'll join some exclusive company as the fifth player to ever win MVP and DPOY. The other four? Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Kevin Garnett. I almost forgot to mention his offense. He's averaging around 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists a night on a crazy efficient shooting split. He's already in the top three of all time small forwards, and if he continues at this pace, he might end up number one.

Allen Crabbe will get the first assignment on Durant, but I think this is a great opportunity for Caris Levert to make a name for himself. Levert is coming off one of his best games of his career on Sunday night and should see a lot of playing time tonight. Levert trains with KD in the summer, and if he can ever come close to what Durant is and has been, Brooklyn will have a star on their hands.

From the Vault

Too $hort opened up the biggest movie of the year. Shout out to Ryan Coogler and the whole Oakland.

More reading: Golden State of Mind