WHAT: The Nets are looking to start the new year off on the right foot with a win over the very good, but very struggling New Orleans Pelicans.
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. EST
HOW: YES, FSNO; NBA League Pass
THE STORY: Game Preview
These two teams are similar in record and different in composition. The Pelicans rely heavily on their rotation of big men, headlined by Anthony Davis and supported by Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle. Cheick Diallo and Jahlil Okafor are in there too, but they’re side dishes to the main course of the big three. In their first matchup of the season, the Nets were able to hold Davis, Mirotic, and Randle to just 42 combined points compared to their combined season average of 65. There’s going to have to be another strong team effort if the Nets want to replicate those numbers, and remember, they lost that game anyway even if it was a heartbreaker.
Brooklyn will be without their starting power forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in this one which is bad for their on-court production but is also just a bummer. During the eight-game win streak he averaged 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds and even shot 45 percent from three on 11 attempts! He has an undeniably positive impact on the game and plays harder than just about anyone on the team. His presence will be missed in this one, especially when it’s time to try and close out on Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic three’s
For more on the Pelicans, check out: The Bird Writes
D’Angelo Russell will return to the starting lineup after sitting against Milwaukee. He (18 points), Spencer Dinwiddie (18 points), and Joe Harris (14 points on 50/48%) are the lynch pins that make the Nets offense go. Harris is the scary long range-threat that will test Elfrid Payton’s endurance throughout with his offball movement and quick trigger.
If you don’t recognize Rodions Kurucs, I can’t say I blame you. The 40th overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft is averaging nine points and five rebounds in 19 minutes per game, and started his first game on 12/14.
Jarrett Allen is the defensive presence down low, who may give Anthony Davis cause for concern. His athleticism and length have given Davis trouble before, though AD made sure to put him in his place in their previous matchup.