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Nets begin December with home game against T-Wolves

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

I’m thorough, in every borough, my name be ringing, warming it up for the perfect time to hit your brain, and ya feelin’ it? In a fun, back and forth affair, the Brooklyn Nets outlasted their crosstown foes, the New York Knicks, and walked away with a two-point victory at Barclays Center on Tuesday night. The team has been off for two days and are beginning a weekend back-to-back. Luckily for the Nets, they’ll be home all weekend so they won’t have to go anywhere.

The opponent tonight will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves have been exceeding expectations so far and have been looking pretty solid. They took a tough loss on Wednesday night in DC against the Washington Wizards to fall back to .500. The Wolves will be off this weekend before returning home on Monday to take on the Atlanta Hawks.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Joe Harris is out. After being out for 17 games, Nicolas Claxton is not listed on the injury report and will be returning to action tonight. The Nets will also be out their two-ways, David Duke Jr. and Kessler Edwards, as well as Day’Ron Sharpe. Duke is still bothered by a hip flexor while the other two will be playing for Long Island in Delaware on Saturday. Kyrie Irving still out.

Karl-Anthony Towns suffered a nasty fall on Wednesday and had to leave the game. He’s listed as questionable with a tailbone contusion. Patrick Beverley is out with a left abductor strain. Jarred Vanderbilt is probable after flu-like symptoms. Jaylen Nowell is questionable with a non-COVID illness. Jaden McDaniels is questionable with flu-like symptoms. Anthony Edwards is probable after flu-like symptoms.

The game

When this one wraps up, the Nets will be awaiting the Chicago Bulls on Saturday as the second leg of a back-to-back. Similar to last week, they’ll be at home for both games.

Which one of y’all had a Taurean Prince game winning layup in traffic on your bingo cards?!

The former Net has started the past three games as the team has been dealing with the flu, but he’s best suited coming off the bench.

I’ve been thinking about this Kevin Durant quote since Tuesday night:

Efficiency Man is a hooper’s hooper so the more he’s out there, the better. It’s been working for him as he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November. Durant saved the day for Brooklyn against the Knicks as he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help bring it home. He missed a lot of makeable shots on Tuesday night, but superstar players always find a way to get it back in gear and bring the W home when it’s closing time. The Wolves will throw everybody at KD and hope that he’s a bit cold today.

Speaking of awards, Patty Mills received the Don Award, the highest honor in Australian sports. 2021 has been magnificent for Mills as he led Australia to bronze in the Olympics and has been sensational with the Nets. As it happens, the Wolves have done a tremendous job of defending the three point line as teams are only shooting 31.5 percent from deep against them, second best in the NBA (The Nets are first).

The Nets will need to be extra careful in handling the ball as Minnesota leads the NBA in opponent’s turnover rate. Turnovers doomed Brooklyn against the Suns and they have to work hard to avoid a repeat performance tonight.

It’s the holiday season, and it’s a perfect time to give back and help out. Nets fan and all around good guy Bruce Jones has been doing awesome work with Jenni’s Toys, and you can read about it and Bruce’s work here.

Assuming he plays, the Nets will have their hands full with Karl-Anthony Towns. KAT has been his usual excellent self, averaging 24 points, nine rebounds, and three assists on a .508/.442/.817 split. Towns is one of the best shooting bigs we’ll ever see, and Brooklyn will have to figure out ways to make life hard on him. Claxton will probably be on a minutes restriction tonight, so LaMarcus Aldridge will be the main man for Brooklyn. LMA didn’t have a great game against the Knicks, but he did just enough to help the team win so it’s all good.

In happy news, WNBA All Star and 2020 Olympics Gold Medalist, Napheesa Collier, is expecting her first child! Congrats to her and her fiancée, Alex Bazzell.

Anthony Edwards is two tons of fun. The reigning Rookie of the Year is more involved in the offense this year, and it’s been paying off. He’s 19th in scoring at 19 points a game and has been taking more three pointers this season. Like a lot of young guards, he’s a better finisher at the rim than he is a shooter from deep, but he’s dangerous enough to make you sweat from downtown.

Player to watch: D’Angelo Russell

Our fav! It’s always good to see DLo back in town, and the Wolves are happy he’s here. The shooting numbers are down some, but his passing has been there and has seen his turnover rate dip for the fourth consecutive season. Russell is good vibes and is someone you can count on with the game on the line. He’s been solid all over the court, and Jack Bowman of Canis Hoopus wrote this about him:

But where Russell’s offseason work and chemistry with his teammates appears the most is on defense. The Timberwolves are the most committed they have ever been on that end, and Russell — like is he on offense — deserves credit for being an important connective tissue that helps make everything work.

Russell stands at 6-foot-5, boasts a 6-foot-10 wingspan, and has excellent vision, with the vocal leadership, hands and timing to match — ideal for perimeter defender who lacks plus athleticism. It may be his seventh year in the NBA, but Russell’s improvement in off-ball defense and pick-and-roll defense couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Wolves look happy and productive, and if they keep up this pace, they’ll have a good chance of sneaking into the postseason.

National TV games always stick in mind longer, so James Harden picked the perfect time to have his best game of the year. Harden had 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and one groovy put back dunk against the Knicks on Tuesday. He, the Nets, and everyone else is trying to figure this out, but as long as he’s aggressive, he’ll be good. Steve Nash has more:

“I always want James to attack. I want him to attack and put pressure on the defense. If it ends in a shot more times than not, great. If it ends in a pass more times than not, that’s great, too. For me, I don’t necessarily want to pigeonhole him into, ‘You have to score. You have to play make.’ I want him to be aggressive, be himself and make plays.”

Roll downhill and make it happen.

From the Vault

Tonight’s halftime performer will be Lil Kim! Hardcore turned 25 recently (I would DEFINITELY recommend Fullamusu Bangara’s book on the album), so let’s revisit my favorite track on it

More reading: Canis Hoopus