Welcome to 2020. It took a while, but the Brooklyn Nets finally entered the W column for the New Year with an impressive come from behind win against the Miami Heat on Friday night. The win snapped the team's seven game losing streak and finally brought some good vibes back to the team. Gotta restore the feeling.
The opponent tonight will be the Atlanta Hawks. Things have gone haywire in the ATL and the Hawks are stuck trying to figure out how to chart their beat path forward.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio (NFL Playoffs on WFAN today). Tip off after 6 PM.
Kyrie Irving will likely make his return tonight after missing 26 games over two months. Kevin Durant is out (but “progressing fantastically” according to his coach). Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler both missed Friday's game and are questionable for this one.
Jabari Parker (right shoulder shoulder) is out ... and Trae Young (hamstring) is questionable.
Brooklyn won the first meeting in early December and second one in mid December.
If there's one thing you can point to for Atlanta's bad season, it might be the absence of John Collins for a large portion of it. Collins was suspended 25 games for a performance enhancing drug violation. The Hawks' season spiraled from there and they haven't been able to recover. Collins is one of ATL's foundational players going forward, and the more he continues to develop, the better the Hawks will be.
There have been rumors the Hawks will make a run at Detroit's Andre Drummond, and SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell explains how a trade would benefit Collins:
While Collins is blocking more shots than ever this year — his block rate is 5.3 percent, up from 1.8 percent last year — Atlanta still appears to like him more at the four. Sliding Drummond next to Collins would give the Hawks additional toughness in the paint and a more traditional front line with two classic bigs.
We'll see what they do as we head deeper into trade season. The trade deadline is February 6.
I've been seeing a bunch of discussion on Twitter about Trae Young being "undeserving" of being an All Star because of how sorry the Hawks have been. Just so we're clear, Young is averaging around 29 points, nine assists, and five rebounds a night while doing a whole bunch of cool stuff on the court. Kyrie Irving is second in the balloting.
Twitter is stupid.
Speaking of possible All Stars, Spencer Dinwiddie had one of his best showings of the season. Yeah the 26 points are cool, but he had a career-high 14 assists to only two turnovers. The Nets need Dinwiddie to put together good games every night if they want to win, and they're hoping he's back on the good foot going forward.
When you take good care of the ball, good things happen. The Nets only coughed it up nine times (all in the first half) on Friday and that aided in their comeback. The Hawks have been one of the sloppiest teams in the NBA as they have the second highest turnover rate in the league. If the Nets can force Atlanta into early turnovers, they'll be able to set the tone of the game and hop out to a huge lead.
Player to watch: Vince Carter
Yup, it's a special night around these parts. This is the last time we'll see Vince play in the New York area and his impact on the Nets franchise was undeniable. He rejuvenated the Nets when he arrived from Toronto in late 2004 and helped lead them to the playoffs three times.
He was great for business as well as the Nets had increased popularity and atrendance at games when he was here. He was excellent as a lead option when he came in and settled into the wise veteran role as the team went through its slump following the Jason Kidd trade. Carter always was fun to watch and now that his career is winding down, we can appreciate his great play and character even more. I look forward to seeing Vince come back to town whenever the Nets announce they'll be retiring his jersey.
Having Caris Levert back has been a god send for Kenny Atkinson. Levert hit the game winner on Friday, but even beyond that, having another player that can get their own shot and run the offense will open things up for everybody else. Now it's just a matter of working through the minutes limit.
From the Vault
Let's take it back to 2006 and one of Vince's best games as a Net...
Best wishes, VC!
More reading: Peachtree Hoops
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Atlanta Hawks Game Notes - Atlanta Hawks
- Nets looking to contain Hawks’ Young - Larry Fleisher - STATS/TSX
- Sources: Kyrie Irving expected to return to Nets lineup Sunday vs. Hawks - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving could return from shoulder injury Sunday - AP
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving expected to return in total about-face - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ plan for Spencer Dinwiddie in extra-crowded backcourt - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Rodions Kurucs finally breaking out of funk - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving ‘likely’ to return to Nets lineup on Sunday vs. Hawks: report - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- How a G-League assignment saved Rodions Kurucs’ season - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Is Irving returning to Nets? It’s probable - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets’ Kurucs could be poised for resurgence - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving (shoulder) expected to return for Nets on Sunday - Justin Leger - Yahoo! Sports
- NETS VS. HAWKS: BROOKLYN READY FOR THE RODIONS KURUCS RESURGENCE - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- BROOKLYN NETS KYRIE IRVING PROBABLE TO PLAY AGAINST ATLANTA ON SUNDAY - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- SPENCER DINWIDDIE IS IRON MAN - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Lloyd Pierce has ‘zero doubts’ Trae Young will get to the All-Star game - Sarah K. Spencer - Atlanta Journal-Constitution