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NETS 2021: Nets look to crash Bucks’ Ring Night as the NBA season gets underway

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Y’all know what this. We givin’ y’all five seconds to put your drink down and report to the dance floor immediately. All the busters we givin’ y’all five seconds to get close to a exit. It’s about to get real ugly in here. Five seconds is up - let’s go!

Welcome to the Nets world tour. Brooklyn has one thing in mind and today is the first stop in their quest to the NBA Championship. The Nets are looking pretty different from the last time we saw them in games of consequence, so the coaching staff will get to figuring out what combinations work best. As the favorites this year, all eyes will be on them as they look to take down every one standing in their way. Their first test will be with a team we all know well...

Tonight will be a celebration. It’s Ring Night and everybody’s celebrating. The Milwaukee Bucks will get their rings and hang up the banner for their 2020-2021 season. On their way to the title, they survived a battle for the ages against the Nets in a classic seven game series. Now as the defending champs, there will be a different pressure on Mike Budenholzer and friends this year. That’s that good pressure tho.

Where to follow the game

TNT and WFAN 101.9 FM are the first stop on the world tour. Get to your seats by 7:30 PM. Actually, get their earlier than that so you can be nice and comfy when the show begins.

We’ll be LIVE after the game on Clubhouse. Come join! https://www.clubhouse.com/join/netsdaily/vJ6AxczF/xLBYKjWy

Injuries

Kyrie Irving is out for the foreseeable future. Everyone’s moved on so let me bottom line it: Everybody else is ready to roll.

Donte DiVincenzo is still working his way back from surgery last spring. He’s out. Semi Ojeleye missed Friday’s preseason finale with a calf injury. We’ll see if he’s out there. Bobby Portis is dealing with a hamstring injury so he’s out. Rodney Hood is out as well.

The game

This is the NBA’s 75th season, the 19th season NetsDaily has been covering the Nets, and my ninth doing game previews. Let’s ride.

Welcome to NBA Lane.

Kobe forever.

The NBA is rolling out their 75 Greatest Players ever this week, and the first third will be announced tonight. I LOVE LOVE LOVE arguing about all time players and learning about the greats that were before my time, so this is definitely my jam.

The Nets beefed up the frontcourt this summer and have a nice mix of centers that can do so many different things. I came across a great article by Mark Schindler of The Analyst and this part stood out:

Defensively, what stands out is how the Nets can dictate how their opponent defends them, and who they exploit on defense themselves. Each big on the roster brings a different set of skills, athleticism, size and gravity. Brooklyn has an embarrassment of riches regarding the optionality it has with set design and pet plays built around its frontcourt. Due to their ability to maximize and amplify what the stars do, the Nets can force the opposition to adjust in personnel and scheme.

One big that promises to be an integral part of the Nets attack is Nicolas Claxton. Clax put together a terrific preseason finale after struggling for much of camp. He and James Harden have a nice chemistry brewing and with Claxton improving his conditioning by the day, his role will be critical for this Nets team.

Will the Nets go double big? They have four quality big men and it can create a new dimension for the team this year as compared to last. Our main man Kristian Winfield has more on that for the NY Daily News. The bigs will get their chance to make some hay against our old friend Brook Lopez.

Got a chance to chat with Kyle Coche of Brew Hoop about the Bucks. Read it here.

Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton had themselves a kickass summer. They helped guide the Bucks to the chip, hopped on a plane straight to Tokyo following the parade, and helped the United States win gold in the Olympics. That’s dope as hell. Now that they’re here, they’ll be looking to make life hell on the Nets again. Middleton is the man who put the dagger into Brooklyn’s hearts in Game 7 and Holiday found his game later in the playoffs after struggling for much of the Nets series.

With Irving away, Harden will get more scoring opportunities. As a Net, Harden posted his lowest usage rate since the 2013-2014 season as a member of the Houston Rockets. He’ll shoot more, but his playmaking opens the world up for Steve Nash and friends. He’s healthy again and is back ready to wreck shop. One beneficiary of a healthy Harden will be Joe Harris. Harris had a rough series against the Bucks, but had himself a groovy preseason as he shot 65 percent from three point range. He’s led Brooklyn in total minutes the past two seasons, so I wonder if the team will trim his minutes a bit so he can have more gas in the tank when it’s title time.

One final note: The Bucks championship ring ceremony begins at 6:45 p.m. ET Tuesday and will air live on TNT. Avert your eyes.

Player to watch: Giannis Antetokuonmpo

When we last saw the Greek Freak, he put together one of the greatest games of basketball the world has ever seen. 50 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks en route to the Finals MVP. AND ON ONE GOOD LEG!!! Giannis has spent the summer and part of camp recovering and he appears to be good to go for Ring Night. When you accomplish something as monumental as Antetokuonmpo and the Bucks did, you come back feeling as if the weight of the world is off your shoulders. Antetokuonmpo has looked great in preseason and his shot looks groovy as hell to boot. As long as Giannis is playing, the Bucks will be one of the favorites to win the championship.

When we last saw Kevin Durant in games that mattered, he was carrying the United States Men’s National Team to gold in Tokyo. In the NBA, he was one foot away from knocking out the Bucks as he and the Nets did battle with Milwaukee in the East Semifinals. He signed a contract extension during the Olympics, so Nets fans will be spending a lot more time with KD for the next few years. With PJ Tucker now a member of the Miami Heat, we’ll see who on the Bucks gets the Durant assignment. Whoever it is, good luck, buddy.

From the Vault

The very best are meant to clash at the top. Let’s get it

More reading: Brew Hoop