clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Struggling Nets come home to face the Pacers

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Toronto Raptors v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a better result. After two days off, the Brooklyn Nets returned to action in Detroit against the Pistons. They started slow, couldn’t get any stops, but fought back to get kinda close. And in an all too familiar refrain, they couldn’t get over the hump and wound up taking a bad loss last night. That’s three in a row and that’s not good.

The opponent tonight will be the Indiana Pacers. Indy is looking different these days as Nate Bjorkgren is coaching the team after Nate McMillan was let go at the end of the bubble season. It’s been a rough stretch for them as their loss to the Utah Jazz on Super Bowl Sunday pushed their losing streak to three game.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 8 PM.

Injuries

Spencer Dinwiddie, Nicolas Claxton, Iman Shumpert, and Kevin Durant are out. Noah Vonleh is available, but he didn’t play Tuesday.

T.J. Warren is out after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Our old friend Caris Levert is also out as he is recovering from surgery. A small mass was discovered on his kidney following the four-team trade that brought James Harden to Brooklyn. But good news, he’s back in the gym. No word yet on when he’ll be back on the court.

The game

When the Pacers finish up here, they’ll be heading to Detroit to play the Pistons as they’ll be on the second night of a back-to-back.

When this is done, the Nets will be off for a few days before beginning their west coast road trip in Golden State. That game is gonna be huge as it’s the Saturday night primetime game on ABC, Durant’s (likely) return to the court following another dance with COVID protocols, and his first time back to Golden State since leaving the West and coming to Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. Should be a fun one.

Pacers assistant coach Bill Bayno resigned as Pacers assistant coach, citing personal and mental health reasons. Scott Agness wrote about Bayno here so definitely check it out when you finish here.

Here’s something:

Our guy Pooch will have more later today at The Association.

One big change for the Pacers these days is where they’re taking their shots from on the court. From 2016-2017 to the end of last season, under McMillan, the Pacers were:

27th

26th

29th

30th in 3-point attempts. This year, they’re up to 20th in 3-pointers and while they’re middle of the pack in efficiency, the fact that they’re fulling expanding out will help them out down the line. It’ll be a shootout with the Nets as are eighth in attempts and fourth in efficiency from deep.

With no KD, James Harden will be the leading man for the Nets. We all know of Harden’s scoring prowess, but his playmaking has really been the shining light of his stay in Brooklyn so far. Harden’s been a huge benefit to Joe Harris, whose getting plenty of wonderful looks from deep thanks to all the attention the big three draw from opposing defenses. It pays to have great shooting and as the Nets go (at least) one more night without Durant, Harris will be starting at the three for Steve Nash and friends once again.

Speaking of Harden, without KD, he needs to take more than 14 field goal attempts in a game. You’re one of the best scorers in the league, shoot your shot (and take midrange jumpers when they’re open for you!).

The problem for the Nets is that since they lost LeVert and Jarrett Allen, they’re horrid defensively as our newest writer, Alec Sturm tweeted last night...

Of course on the other side of the ledger...

With no Warren or Levert (and Victor Oladipo, who was traded to Houston), the perimeter scoring duties falls upon Malcolm Brogdon. His usage rate has gone up every season of his career and it’s led to him averaging a career high 21.7 points a game on a decent .447/.387/.890 shooting split. Brogdon is best suited as a third option, but he’ll have to do as the leading person until Levert and Warren get back. In the meantime, he’ll have his hands full with Kyrie Irving. Irving is back after dealing with a finger injury that kept him out of Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. He scored 27 last night, but only went 12-28 from the field and 2-9 from three point range. Finger injuries, especially on your shooting hand, are hell to deal with. Irving is gonna keep fighting, and the hope for the Nets is Irving’s hand doesn’t bother him enough to slow him down.

The number of the day is 120. 120 (and more) is the amount of points Nets opponents have scored in the last seven games. Yes the Nets can win shootouts, but no, that is not sustainable if they want to make a run deep into the spring and early summer.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Player to watch: Myles Turner

Quiet as it’s kept, the 2015 NBA Draft was better than most. Turner was taken 11th that year and has been a solid player for the Pacers ever since. He’s currently campaigning for Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s making a pretty good case. He leads the league in blocks and is holding opponents to only 39.5 percent shooting when he’s defending them according to NBA.com. The offensive numbers are close to what they usually are, but the feel of his game is a lot different. Mark Schindler of Indy Cornrows has more on Turner’s development.

Self awareness is key. After the loss last night, DeAndre Jordan mentioned that he and his teammates have to have a sense of urgency on defense, and it’s true. Opponents have lived in the paint against the Nets this season and all of the Brooklyn bigs will need to step up. Noah Vonleh made his team debut last night and Nash will need to get him up to speed quickly. The Nets need their big guys to be on top of their games and the more acclimated he and Norvel Pelle get, the better the Nets defense will become.

From the Vault

Happy belated to Bob Marley

More reading: Indy Cornrows