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Nets welcome Kings (and their fans!) to Barclays Center

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Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Late night hype. The Brooklyn Nets went into Sunday night’s showcase game against a fully healthy Los Angeles Clippers team hoping to extend their winning streak and send another message to the NBA. They managed to do both in style as they pushed the winning streak to six games with an incredibly impressive victory. The win capped off a perfect 5-0 road trip, the first time the team has done that in franchise history. That’s how you make it happen.

And oh, by the way, the NBA reviewed the controversial call near the end of the game and NBA stood by the refs’ in-game decision that Kawhi Leonard committed an offensive foul on James Harden.

The opponent tonight will be the Sacramento Kings. When we saw the Kings earlier this month, it looked like they were on their way back to respectability. However, their losing ways have returned with a vengeance. Their losing streak is up to seven games after taking a loss on the road to the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. We’re back to normal viewing hours so tip off will be after 7:30.

Injuries

Spencer Dinwiddie is out. Kevin Durant is recovering at a “rapid rate” from his hamstring injury, but is out. Tyler Johnson missed Sunday’s game with left adductor tightness. No word on his availability for this one. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had to leave Sunday’s game with a right hip contusion and is questionable. Jeff Green was diagnosed with a right shoulder contusion after he was on the receiving end of a Patrick Beverley screen late in Sunday’s game. He’s questionable as well. Iman Shumpert is getting closer and has been elevated to probable as has Tyler Johnson, who missed Sunday’s game. Nicolas Claxton is available, but he hasn’t played in a long time and likely won’t be out there tonight.

Glenn Robinson, III missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury. He’s not with the team as he’s tending to a personal matter so he’s out. Harrison Barnes is questionable with a foot injury. Chimeze Metu is out indefinitely with a broken wrist after what the Kings called a “dirty play” by Memphis’ Jonas Valanciunas.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game as part of their West Coast sweep.

Three more games to go on this road trip for the Kings, including a back-to-back that will take them from MSG against the Knicks on Thursday to Detroit to play the Pistons on Friday. It doesn’t get any easier.

We’ll be seeing some more faces in the building tonight. Starting tonight, fans will be allowed to view games in person at Barclays Center. It won’t be a full house as there’s still a pandemic in these streets, but there will be around 300 fans in the building tonight.

Here’s the details of the situation, per the Wall Street Journal...

Barclays Center will admit 300 fans for each of the first three games when the arena reopens to spectators, and attendance is expected to increase to nearly 1,800 a game by early March, according to a BSE spokeswoman. Attendees will be asked to swap whatever mask they arrive with for a fresh KF94 mask provided by the arena’s management. Instead of sitting 6 feet apart, fans will sit 9 feet apart, and courtside seats will be farther back than usual. The air inside will be turned over several times an hour. And to prevent milling in the concourse, fans will only be permitted to use the bathroom in their seating area.

Barclays decided that the best way to approach Covid-19 testing for fans was to send each ticket holder an at-home testing kit, with the cost of a kit baked into the price of admission. Fans need to complete the PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, test within 72 hours before a game. A second rapid test will be used at the game for fans who have a test result that is between 48 and 72 hours old.

And here’s a link to the official Barclay Center COVID page.

The Nets will be home all week so we’ll see how this plays out. And shouts to our guy Pooch for breaking the news. And for the rest of y’all, keep wearing your masks, washing your hands, and watching after your loved ones. Every little bit helps.

Today’s actually an important date in (New Jersey) Nets history. It was on this date in 2011 that the team made the move to acquire Deron Williams. We all know how things shook out, so when you’re done here, read the retrospective I did on Williams’ time in Jersey and Brooklyn here.

I would be failing in my duties as a writer if I didn’t mention one of the keys to Brooklyn’s turnaround...

Someone get Mina (and Lenny!) a Nets jersey ASAP! For those who don’t know Mina, she’s an ESPN writer and Lenny of course her dog.

De’Aaron Fox has been running ragged the past few games. Fox’s field goal percentage has dropped in each of the past three games as he’s having to take on even more of the scoring and playmaking responsibilities with Sacramento’s roster being less than 100 percent. It’s a heavy burden and the cost of doing business when you’re the team’s best player.

It won’t get any easier for him tonight as he’ll be dealing with Kyrie Irving. Irving was masterful on Sunday night as his playmaking and scoring prowess were on full display against one of the best teams in the league. The great thing about Irving is he utilizes the entire court and can attack you from practically anywhere. He can finish at the rim with both hands and he can slither through even the tiniest opening the defense provides. What do you do to even stop a guy like that when he’s on a roll?

When the Nets won the first game, they wrecked the Kings from deep as they made a franchise record 27 threes. Sacramento doesn’t have the firepower to keep up from deep and with the team on tired legs as they make their way through the road trip, the Nets can put them away early if they get off to a hot start.

Nemanja Bjelica didn’t play on Sunday, and he might be on the move soon as teams around the NBA have been calling the Kings up looking to see what it would take to acquire him in a trade.

We saw one coach get fired in New York on Sunday, and if the losses keep piling up, Luke Walton might be the next coach given the boot.

He’s only 25 years old, but I had completely forgotten that Jabari Parker was still in the league. Sheesh. He made his season debut in Chicago and will be someone Luke Walton utilizes off of the bench. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to fully carve out a role in Sacramento or come close to fulfilling his potential in the league, but he’s still super young and teams will always take a chance on you if you have talent.

James Harden keeps on doing his thing. The former MVP put forth another banner game on Sunday and looked like the best player on the court against the Clippers star studded duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Yes, he sold that Leonard drive at the end of the game like he was Ric Flair, but it worked so all’s well that ends well, right? That shouldn’t take away from what’s been a sensational run in Brooklyn for Harden. When All Star reserves are announced on TNT tonight, he’s a virtual lock to be named to the team.

Player to watch: Marvin Bagley

With Sacramento trying to figure out their frontcourt situation, Bagley will take on even more importance. He’s managed to put together a decent pro career all things considered. Of course, the thing considered is Sacramento passing on Luka Doncic, but stuff happens right? Either way, he and Fox will be responsible for getting the Kings somewhere better than where they are right now.

Bagley has expanded his range and is shooting a career high 39 percent from three point range. Surprisingly, his free throw percentage is at a career low 54.8 percent. The Nets have had their issues on the boards and that is where Bagley can make a big difference for Sacramento.

Assuming Jeff Green is out, more responsibilities will fall on DeAndre Jordan’s shoulder. DJ actually made the game winning basket on Sunday as his tip in offensive rebound put the Nets up for good in the final seconds. He was super energetic and was fully engaged on both sides of the ball. I had my reservations as to whether he should have been out there when the Clippers went small, but he held his own decently enough all things considered. Claxton won’t be out there, so I’m guessing we’ll see a fair bit of Noah Vonleh and Andre Roberson to help provide some more frontcourt size and length for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

No setup here, just vibes

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