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Nets host Nuggets before hitting the road

Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

Keep trying to tell y’all about taking national TV losses. The Brooklyn Nets played host to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night and were witnesses to the LeBron James experience as he and the Lakers put on a show and handed the Nets a rough home loss. It’s a bumpy road right now, but you hope for brighter days on the horizon.

The opponent tonight will be the Denver Nuggets. Mike Malone and friends are hanging tough and ought to be a tough out come playoff time. They played the Detroit Pistons in the D last night and came away with a six point victory. Once they wrap up here, they’re back on the road to continue their six game trip.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 8 p.m.

Injuries

No Joe Harris and Kevin Durant. Harris went to Indiana for a second opinion on his ankle, so it looks like he’ll be out for a bit longer than anticipated. Kyrie Irving is back on Saturday and the entire road trip. Expect rest days as well.

Jamal Murray is working his way back from his ACL tear, but won’t be playing tonight. Michael Porter Jr is out after spinal surgery. Vlatko Cancar is out recovering from right foot surgery. Will Barton didn’t play last night due to right hamstring tightness

The game

This is a makeup from the game in December that was postponed due to COVID.

So, if you follow Nuggets twitter, then you’ve probably seen Denver fans raise holy hell every time Facu Campazzo is on the court. Now that Bryn Forbes is here, the Nuggets have some guard help until Murray gets back. Asher Levy of Denver Stiffs spoke about the new Nuggets backcourt and said:

I think it really depends on how much Michael Malone ends up trusting him. For all the stats stacked against Facu Campazzo that say he’s a negative for the Nuggets nearly every time he’s on the floor; Malone trusts him. He goes back to Facu frequently when it doesn’t seem he should. If he can end up trusting Forbes more, than I see Forbes as a permanent addition to the rotation due to his shooting output and his gravity. On the other hand, he does struggle on the defensive side of the ball and Malone may get annoyed and pull him from the rotation. Personally, I would bet on Forbes being a part of the rotation permanently though.

Mixing and matching all around.

When you’re shorthanded, you CAN’T be careless with the basketball. The Nets coughed it up 18 times last night, which led to 19 Lakers points off of turnovers. The margins for this team are razor thin right now and every miscue will hit twice as hard. Steve Nash has continued to experiment, so it’s gonna be tough to get a read on this team if and when everyone gets back.

Welcome back, Uncle Jeff! Jeff Green is back in Brooklyn as a member of the Nuggets and he’s stepped up for an injury depleted team. He’s starting these days and has shown why he’s such a dependable hand. He was a fan favorite here and ought to get a nice hand from the Barclays crowd. He’s also dealing with a quad contusion that might limit his minutes, but he’ll do his best out there.

I spent the Tuesday game preview grousing at James Harden for not being aggressive enough, and he made sure to shut people like me up in a hurry. He had a few bad turnovers, but otherwise played a heck of a game with 33/12/11. Superstars have to do more, so at least for tonight, the Nets are going to need another huge game out of Harden if they want to win. Denver allows teams to shot 70.1 percent inside the restricted area, highest in the NBA. Look for Harden to drive it to the basket early, often, and with ferocity.

The Nets three point shooting will need a boost after a rough outing last night, so the hope is Kessler Edwards can knock a few shots down from deep. Like everyone else who’s ever walked the face of the Earth, he didn’t have any answers for LeBron James, but he played hard and did some good things in other parts of the game. The Nets need his floor spacing and confidence to help give them another shooter (at home) besides Patty Mills.

Aaron Gordon as the second option is working out pretty well. The former Magic star is shooting a career best 52.7 percent from the field and his cutting plus ability to finish at the rim makes him incredibly valuable. Having a 6’8 forward that can handle, finish well at the rim, and playmake a bit is super valuable and allows for more offensive flexibility.

Player to watch: Nikola Jokic

Aye man, aye...

HOW?!?!?!

Jokic is such an absolute joy to watch and last year’s MVP has been just as sensational this time around. The big fella is tied for first in double doubles, second in rebounds, seventh in scoring, tenth in assists, and first in out of this world plays. He makes the NBA fun and getting to watch him ply his craft is a joy.

With Nic Claxton back, the Nets big room has a few more options to work with. He looked pretty decent in his 17 minutes last night, but with this being a back-to-back, he might get a precautionary night off. Day’Ron Sharpe will start and he’s continued to be a positive force on the boards. LaMarcus Aldridge will look to provide some scoring punch off the bench and give the perimeter players a little extra room to work with. And while he didn’t play last night, you’d think Blake Griffin might get a few minutes tonight. All hands on deck and he stay ready so if his number is called, he ought to help.

From the Vault

Love me a good playoff duel

And happy birthday to Vince Carter!

More reading: Denver Stiffs