clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nets wrap up March vs Rockets

New, comments
Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Really good, but got to be better. The Brooklyn Nets were in control for much of Monday night’s game, but they let the rope slip one too many times and it almost bit them in the butts. Fortunately for them, they escaped with a five point win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The win helped them keep pace with the Philadelphia 76ers and ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. With Philly’s loss last night to the Denver Nuggets, the Nets can get to first in the East with a win.

The opponent tonight will be the Houston Rockets. As we all know, it’s been a rough, rough season for the team as everything gone for them and are firmly in rebuild mode. They added one more loss to their pile with an L at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30 p.m.

We’ll be on Clubhouse as well, starting at 10:15 p.m. Details here.

Injuries

Spencer Dinwiddie, Kevin Durant, Landry Shamet, and LaMarcus Aldridge are out.

Dante Exum, Eric Gordon, Avery Bradley, and David Nwaba are out. Christian Wood is listed as questionable.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game in March.

As you read the preview, the big guy was on the City Game podcast with Steve Litchenstein talking about the Nets. Give it a spin!

Woo buddy, it is not fun being in Rafael Stone and Stephen Silas’ shoes right now. They went from expecting to compete for a playoff spot to a full on rebuild. Although the Victor Oladipo didn’t work, the team does have some flexibility moving forward. Jeremy Brener of The Dream Shake has more:

The one thing that’s remained constant in the front office transition from Morey to Stone is the desire for flexibility. Being able to pivot and go in a different direction at any given point is a positive in a league that’s changing every day. Another positive to acquiring Oladipo was giving the team the ability to sign whichever player they wanted in free agency with ample cap space. They can now go acquire any free agent they wish rather than just the players within the teams of the Harden trade.

With the benefits came the risks, just as any acquisition is in the NBA. In the best case scenario, the Rockets are likely a team seeded somewhere between 6-10 and they would at least have a shot in the play-in series. The worst case scenario? Well, that’s exactly what happened.

So, it appears Kelly Olynyk turned into Dirk Nowitzki while my back was turned. In two games with his new team, he's averaging around 20 points and six rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field. He can stretch the floor, and that could be a source of trouble for the Brooklyn bigs. DeAndre Jordan will start off at center and as the Nets figure out their center minutes, the opponents they see will help guide the choices Steve Nash makes. Blake Griffin got into foul trouble early on Monday, but he still made a ton of high energy plays coming off the bench and he’s been a major plus since joining here. Not to be outdone, he handed out five assists as well.

If this were any year before 2019, John Wall vs Kyrie Irving would headline the NBA slate of games. That’s not the case these days. Wall isn’t the player he was prior to his leg injuries, but he’s still working his way back and is a veteran leader on this team. Naturally, he’s not getting to the rim as well as he did in his Wizards days and isn’t finishing those shots when he gets there, as he’s shooting a career worst 55.6 percent on shots inside of three feet. As for Irving, he’s been masterful as usual and his ability to put constant pressure on defenses even when he doesn’t have the ball helps make Brooklyn impossible to defend.

Player to watch: Kevin Porter, Jr

Porter’s had a tough year. He started the season on the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that ended due to an incident in the locker room and he was sent to Houston as a result. Now that he’s a Rocket, he’s getting a full opportunity to get playing time and take his lumps as a pro. The 15 points a game are nice, but the shooting percentages are a bit on the gnarly side so there’s plenty of room to improve on.

Rockets fans will get one more chance to watch James Harden build his MVP case. Their old flame saved the day for Brooklyn on Monday and has been a godsend for the Nets. With a tough game against the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow night, it would help if the Nets don’t let go of the rope if they get up big. You need to sneak him as much rest as you can and with the Rockets being down bad, the Nets need to jump out early and stay up. Championship caliber teams win and win big.

From the Vault

The University of Houston is in the Final Four for the first time since 1984. Last time they were there, they were led by somebody Rockets fans know incredibly well

More reading: The Dream Shake