Back to life. Back to reality. The Brooklyn Nets got themselves down by a bunch early, but fought their way out of it and came away with a much needed victory against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at the clays. The win got them back to .500 and with two more home games to go on their homestand, they have a chance to make something happen before hitting the road.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30 PM.
Nicolas Claxton has been out the past two games with a non-COVID illness. He’s out again tonight but will likely be back on Wednesday night. Paul Millsap is out on paternity leave.
Cade Cunningham suffered an ankle injury in training camp and didn’t make his NBA debut until last night. It was an underwhelming debut for the overall No. 1 pick. He shot 1-of-8 to finish at two points, seven rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes. With this being night two of a back-to-back and his being on a minutes count yesterday, we’ll see if he plays tonight. Jerami Grant has been dealing with a left elbow infection, but he’s been playing through it so he should be out there tonight. He was on yesterday’s injury report with a right oblique contusion, but he played through that as well.
We saw another bit of history at Barclays on Friday night. LaMarcus Aldridge scored his 20,000th point, joining 47 other all time great players in this elite club. With Claxton and Millsap out along with two days off before the next game, look for LMA to get some more burn tonight. He played a season high 28:04 on Friday and the more he’s out there, the better the team is.
Hey, Kelly Olynyk is here now! This is his third team in 2021 as he’s gone from Miami —> Houston —> Detroit. Olynyk has grown his game over the years and is a reliable floor spacing big. He comes off the bench for Duane Casey’s club, but he tends to get more minutes than the starter, Isaiah Stewart. He’ll be tasked with battling for boards with the Nets and for two teams that have struggled securing rebounds, that battle will be critical tonight.
Turnovers will be key as well. Young teams always tend to get loose with the ball, and true to form, the Pistons are 27th in turnover rate. Fortunately for them, the Nets are 28th in forcing turnovers. If the Nets can get some easy baskets in transition off of Detroit turnovers, it can wear down a team that’s a bit tired after playing the night before.
So, Scary Hours on Halloween?
Queens in the building
You love to see it.
You started to see it some against the Heat on Wednesday, but James Harden looks like he’s getting his rhythm back. Sure the 19 free throws are the headliner from Friday, but Harden was more assertive driving to the basket and putting pressure on the Pacer defenders. He also handed out eight assists, and the P&R combo between he and Bruce Brown has been groovy and opens up more space for the Nets to get good looks.
Player to watch: Jerami Grant
The 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist has been the Pistons’ franchise player since coming over last fall, and he’s carried that mantle of responsibility pretty well. Over at Detroit Bad Boys, Matt Way wrote about Grant and the ways in which the Pistons can make his life easier:
If the Pistons can take some pressure off him and use him in less obvious ways, it should have an impact on his defense as well. Grant certainly took a step back defensively last season and that can almost completely be attributed to the obscene offensive load he carried for much of the second half.
All of this relies on Detroit’s young guards and wings executing better than they did a year ago. But if they can, the Pistons can start transitioning Grant into a role that will better fit into by the time Detroit hopes to be winning games.
As the Pistons youngsters continue to grow and develop, it will help Grant out. The injuries he’s been dealing with have hampered his efficiency a good deal this year, but with good health comes more success.
If the Washington Football Team is ever in need of a replacement for Taylor Heinecke at quarterback, we know a guy...
Kevin Durant should have been ejected for tossing the ball into the stands. He got lucky the refs were napping but this chuck made me chuckle pic.twitter.com/8UglsjktI9— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) October 30, 2021
Just gotta work on that accuracy when you’ve got a wide open target!
But in all seriousness, Friday wasn’t a banner Kevin Durant game, but he was still effective enough. 22/11/7 on 70 percent shooting from the field is damn great, but seven turnovers is where KD can clean it up some. He’s mentioned that the Nets offense is still looking to get players in their best scoring positions, and we can see the makings of an explosive offense even amidst their early struggles. And when all else fails, give it to Kevin and get the hell out his way.
From the Vault
“This year, Halloween fell on a weekend...”
More reading: Detroit Bad Boys
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Detroit Pistons Game Notes - Detroit Pistons
- Nets seeking back-to-back wins in matchup with Pistons - STATS
- Detroit visits Brooklyn on 3-game road skid - AP
- Nets’ slow starts have become a consistent issue - Greg Joyce - New York Post
- Nets star James Harden playing more aggressively and getting more calls - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Pistons observations: Don’t draw conclusions from Cunningham’s underwhelming debut - Detroit News