Can we talk to the league office and institute a running clock for this one? The Brooklyn Nets went to Philadelphia to play the 76ers on Monday night. It was a sloppy affair for the Nets as they coughed it up a ton and lost by a bunch. One more tuneup game before we get down to business for real.
The opponent for the preseason finale will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. It’s been a while since they’ve made the playoffs, but maybe the Wolves can sneak in as an eighth seed this time around. They beat the Clippers by 28 points in LA on Monday.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. Tip after 7:30.
Kyrie Irving isn't here. Everybody else is so we're getting down to business.
Josh Okogie is questionable. Jordan McLaughlin and D'angelo Russell are out.
Job tonight is real simple: make sure everyone gets out of it in one piece. The Nets have a lot to get to once the party starts in Milwaukee and they’re going to need everyone fresh, healthy, and ready to ride. World Tour begins on Tuesday.
Kevin Durant looks like he got more of a rhythm on Monday. KD had an efficient 23 points on 9-of-13 from the field in 25 minutes. Like everybody else wearing Nets colors, he got a bit sloppy with the turnovers, but the more the team (version 1 of it at least) gets reps in, the cleaner they’ll look. Steve Nash has been cagey about what his starting lineup will be, but assuming everyone’s here, we might get a dress rehearsal as to what the first five will look like going into the season.
To be fair to Paul Millsap, he hadn’t played in a week as he dealt with Health and Safety protocols stuff. He was back on Monday and tied for the team high in turnovers with five. The Nets frontcourt will be essential to their plans this season, so they’ll need him to find a rhythm with James Harden on pick-and-rolls, help on the boards, all that good stuff. Having bigs that can handle themselves will be essential for the Nets as they try to correct their rebounding woes from last year.
Millsap, Blake Griffin, and the other Nets bigs will get some work in against Karl Anthony Towns. KAT is super gifted on offense and has been the only source of stability in an organization that stays in some shit.
I feel like I’m one of the few people that thinks the Wolves have a chance to sneak into the play in tournament. And damn near all of my optimism about the team centers around Anthony Edwards. Last year’s Rookie of the Year is a breath of fresh air and someone that is getting better by the day.
Player to watch: Jevon Carter
Carter will see some more opportunity to make contributions. Because it’s preseason, Carter led the team in field goal attempts with 16, and made a few nifty baskets along the way. I don't envision a situation where we'll see him regularly take threes off the dribble, but the preseason is all about trying stuff out. Let it fly!
The Wolves figure to have an intriguing point guard mix this year. Our old friend DLo will get the bulk of the minutes and having a full season will do him some good. He hasn't had anything close to a normal season since 2018-2019, and that year he was named as an All Star for the Nets. Patrick Beverley will come off the bench and he gives a defensive boost, which will be essential for a young squad trying to figure things out.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving and vaccines
No NBA player has suffered more from COVID-19 than Karl-Anthony Towns. He lost his mother his uncle and five other family members.to the disease. He contracted it and lost 50 pounds.
So when he was in his home state of New Jersey earlier in the week, he was asked about Kyrie Irving’s resistance to taking the disease. He provided a balanced response.
“I’m obviously a strong believer in the vaccine,” Towns told NJ.com. “I’ve been through so much and it would be kind of contradictory to not be on the pro-vaccine side. But what I will say is that I believe in choice and I like to give people their choice and I have no problem with people having their choice.”
Towns added that he has not yet spoken to Irving about his vaccination status.
“I think that’s not only a human right, but it’s an American right as well.. ... They make their own decisions on their own bodies and their own families. I have no ill will towards that,” Towns continued. “The only thing I would say is just don’t give me a (expletive) excuse why [you don’t get the vaccine]...You don’t want to do it, that’s your choice.”
Towns no doubt will be asked about Irving’s commentary from earlier Thursday.
From the Vault
I think I speak for everyone when I say I miss Maya Moore hooping.
More reading: Canis Hoopus
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Minnesota Timberwolves Game Notes - Minnesota Timberwolves
- Nets’ Steve Nash to be ‘fluid’ with lineups in Kyrie Irving’s absence - Greg Joyce - New York Post
- Life without Kyrie Irving officially begins for Nets - Greg Joyce - New York Post
- James Johnson is bringing the fight to Brooklyn - Brian Lewis - New York Post Sports+
- James Harden, Steve Nash say Nets moving forward without Kyrie Irving - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Without Kyrie Irving, Nets still have ‘two pretty good leaders,’ says James Harden - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets will not offer Kyrie Irving a contract extension: report - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Despite not having Kyrie Irving, James Harden and the Nets are focused on team-building — and a title - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash calls team’s decision on Kyrie Irving ‘difficult’ but ‘sound’ - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN
- James Harden reacts to Kyrie Irving decision, says he hasn’t yet spoken to Nets star - Ryan Morik - SNY
- Ripple effects of Nets’ decision to not allow Kyrie Irving to play, including potential of a trade - Ian Begley - SNY