Worst loss of the years. No only did the Nets lose a game they should have won against a mediocre team. Not only are they 0-for-the-arena at San Antonio’s AT&T Center. But they lost a key piece, David Nwaba, for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. A tough, strong defender, Nwabe was just coming into his own. In some games, he was the first man off the bench.
The only saving grace was another stellar performance by Spencer Dinwiddie who scored a career high 41 points in 34 minutes. Dinwiddie is now averaging 28 points over the last six games and 22.1 for the season.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 6:00 p.m. ET.
Oh yeah, it’s Star Wars Night. First 10,000 fans in attendance get DeAndre Jordan Bobbleheads.
Let’s start the count: Kevin Durant (right Achilles rehab); Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement); Caris LeVert (right thumb ligament surgery); Nic Claxton (left hamstring soreness) and Nwaba (right Achilles surgery) are all down. Durant and Nwaba are done for the season and there’s no timetable for the other three to return. Also, Henry Ellenson is out, returning from the G League Showcase.
John Collins is serving the last game of his 25-game suspension for PED use.
The Hawks are bad. They’re on a six-game losing streak and are 2-17 in their last 19, a stretch that goes back to November 12, including a 130-112 loss to the Nets on December 4. It’s mostly been a defensive issue. During that 19 game stretch, Atlanta is allowing 122.8 points a game, permitting opponents to shoot 49.6 percent overall and 38 percent from 3-point range.
It’s their second visit to New York this week. On Tuesday, they lost, ignominiously to the Knicks, 143-120. In between, they were at home, losing to the Jazz, 111-106. Utah scored 62 points in the paint, which should be good news for Jarrett Allen, who had 19 and 13 in Thursday’s loss to the Spurs.
Even without Collins, the Hawks are young. They’re starting lineup has an average age of 21 years, 92 days old, Atlanta’s youngest ever – and the fourth youngest lineup in the NBA since the league began tracking starters in 1970-71.
They do excel in one area, points in the paint. The Hawks are tied for second in the Eastern Conference and tied for fourth in the NBA at 52.1 per contest.
And they have Trae Young, who’s averaging 28.4 points and 8.2 assists. In the Nets win down in Atlanta earlier this month, he went off for 39 points and 10 assists. He’s 21 years old, born three months after 1998 NBA Draft where teammate Vince Carter was drafted at No. 5.
Don’t expect any moves by the Nets to replace Nwaba until after Christmas. The Nets have applied for a disabled player exception (DPE) but it will take some time for the league to approve it. It’s a bit complicated but it’s not too hard to see the Nets ultimately making a call to Iman Shumpert.
Player to Watch
This will not be Vince Carter’s last game vs. the Nets. That’s January 12. The 41-year-old Carter is now in his record-setting 22nd season. It will be his last.
Carter is playing limited minutes, but he’s playing well enough. He’s averaging six points over 16 minutes in 23 games. In the Hawks loss to the Knicks, he put up 15 points, shooting 5-of-9 overall and 4-of-7 from three. He also had two blocks in 24 minutes. He rested vs. Utah.
VC played 374 games (369 starts) for the New Jersey Nets. During his four-and-a-half years at the Meadowlands, he missed only 11 games ... and the Nets lost all of them. He averaged 22.5 points (better than the 22.4 he put up for Toronto), 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists, shooting 47/37/81.
Of course, the Nets and VC were never just about the numbers. He and Jason Kidd formed a highlight reel with spectacular dunks coming off eye-opening assists. There’s been no more exciting duo since. We had hoped for some competition this year but it hasn’t happened yet.
We’ll have a proper retrospective next month. We hope the Nets will too.
From the Vault
Continuing the VC theme, we offer this moment from the great Maxmillion711, who chronicled Carter’s highlights while in Jersey. Enjoy.
See you at 6, Vince.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Atlanta Hawks Game Notes - Atlanta Hawks
- Short-handed Nets aim to maintain dominance of Hawks - STATS/TSX
- David Nwaba’s injury leaves Nets in a defensive reset - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- What Spencer Dinwiddie’s role may look like when Kyrie Irving returns - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets all too familiar with dealing with injuries - Greg Logan - Newsday
- NETS VS. HAWKS: BROOKLYN’S BIG LOSS IN SAN ANTONIO WAS DAVID NWABA - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Hawks have one more game before end of Collins’ suspension - Atlanta Journal-Constitution