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Spencer Dinwiddie returns to Brooklyn as Nets host Wizards

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Rough outing in front of the home crowd. The Brooklyn Nets took on the Charlotte Hornets in their home opener on Sunday afternoon, and after a good first half, got outscored by 25 points after the break and suffered a tough loss. No time to wallow in it so they’ve gotta pick themselves up and get back on the map.

The opponent tonight will be the Washington Wizards. New head coach, Wes Unseld Jr., and friends are hoping to put together another playoff campaign, but the road promises to be more challenging than it was last year when they snuck in as the eighth seed. They got an overtime win in their home opener against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night and got the weekend off as they made their way to Brooklyn.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip after 7:30 p.m. Don’t be surprised if there are more anti-vaccine protests outside Barclays Center.

Injuries

Blake Griffin got a rest day yesterday, and tonight it will be LaMarcus Aldridge. But Kevin Durant, who’s averaging 32 points a game in Nets first games, will be on the court for both games of the first the Nets 12 back-to-backs. He will be active. Bruce Brown is questionable with a right calf contusion.

Thomas Bryant is still recovering from an ACL tear and will be out. Rui Hachimura is still away from the team for personal reasons. Hope he’s doing well. Bradley Beal didn’t play on Friday due to a right hip contusion. He’s listed as questionable.

The game

With Griffin out, Brown got his first first half appearance of the season and provided the team with a jolt of energy and solid defense in his time on the court. Brown is a Stay Ready All Star, so even if he doesn’t see the court as much as he should, he’ll make it happen every time he sees the floor.

If you think back to last season, all the Nets vs Wizards games were wild and weird as hell.

Outside of Barclays Center yesterday, a bunch of anti COVID vaccine protesters made a scene in support of Kyrie Irving. Need those clowns to get the hell on and go somewhere.

Turnovers are always bad for business, especially when you play against a team that loves to attack in transition. The Nets coughed it up 17 times and Charlotte scored 29 points off of those turnovers. When you’re missing one of your best shot creators, trying to fit some new players and experiment with new lineup combinations, it’s not going to look pretty all the time.

The Wizards underwent a makeover this summer when they traded Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, and the new guys they got in return have been chipping in so far. Montrezl Harrell has always been a high energy guy off the bench and he’s gotten more of the minutes at the five this season than Daniel Gafford. Kyle Kuzma has held his own in the frontcourt and has gotten double digit rebounds in each of the first two games. Kuzma can also score a bit and plays solid defense, so he can be someone that puts together a banner year in DC.

Speaking of Harrell, he and Daniel Gafford are bears on the boards, and that could spell trouble for Brooklyn. Nicolas Claxton is still working his way into tip top shape and he’s going to need more reps and minutes to get himself right. Presumably, Griffin will be back tonight and that will give Steve Nash another option to work with in the front court. The early leader in the clubhouse is LaMarcus Aldridge and he had another good game coming off the bench. If he plays,

Some friends of ours were in the house yesterday at Barclays:

Things you love to see? That.

Even with the early difficulties, it’s three games in and the Nets still have Kevin Durant on the squad. KD was his usual kick ass self yesterday and is keeping calm, even if Nets Twitter isn’t. The great thing about KD is he can get to anywhere he wants on the court and make something happen. When you need to snap out of a drought, get yourself the highest percentage shot possible, whatever, call KD and he’s there.

Player to watch: Spencer Dinwiddie

Welcome back! Dinwiddie is returning to Barclays Center after five years with the Nets in which he made himself into a fan favorite and reliable contributor. He got the bag and headed south to DC and the Wizards. When Dinwiddie is at his best, he is a guard that can attack downhill, create continuous pressure, and find some good scoring opportunities for his teammates. Dinwiddie was a damn good Net and helped turn the team around, so look for him to get an incredibly warm reception from the fans in the building tonight.

Jevon Carter got the start yesterday, so we’ll see how Steve Nash will utilize him tonight. Carter didn’t shoot well, but when he’s on his game, he provides on ball pressure, which would help against Din. Brown should earn more minutes after his great play, and he brings just what the team needs to win games. He seems like the best option to bother Dinwiddie, so we’ll see how the coaching staff works him into tonight’s plans.

James Harden hasn’t had the greatest start to the season, and hasn’t been getting to the free throw line much at all either. He was pretty awful yesterday as he only got to the free throw line once, turned it over eight times, and got two frustrating offensive foul calls on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter. Harden mentioned after the game that he’s still working to get his confidence back, and that’s understandable for a superstar that dealt with injuries last season and trying to find that proper balance between scoring and playmaking. Give him time and he’ll be back on it.

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