First, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and that you enjoyed time with your family and friends. Second, let’s a this ‘dub’ tonight; what do you say?
Brooklyn is coming off a nice win over a short-handed Toronto Raptors team just ahead of the holidays and are looking to keep the momentum going on Friday night as they had to Indiana to take on the Pacers.
This will be the third time the Nets and Pacers will square off in the first quarter of the season. The teams split the back-to-back set earlier in the season, and while the Pacers are a young team they have been playing some strong basketball early on. So much so that they currently find themselves in 5th place in the East.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (9-10) at Indiana Pacers (10-7)
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. est
WHERE: YES Network (tv and app), WFAN-FM (radio)
Myles Turner, perhaps rejuvenated by a little more freedom to expand his offensive game, is still protecting the hell out of that paint. Yes, he occasionally misses out on rebounds due to hunting for blocks. Their defense, though, paints an unsurprising picture. Guards willingly get to the paint against a Swiss-cheese perimeter defense. Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, and Benedict Mathurin sure know how to move around screens on offense; defensively, it seems they just want their opponents to have the same fun they have. Indiana is allowing the 3rd-most shots at the rim across the NBA. What happens in the paint, though, is a different story. The Pacers are the only defense in the NBA where opponents shoot less than 60% at the rim, mainly thanks to Myles Turner. To be sure, some of this is Rick Carlisle’s team funneling opponents to their best defender. But while 59.5% at the rim is an outstanding mark for a defense, it’s still the most valuable shot on the court. (Stats from Cleaning the Glass.)
Long story short, despite Turner’s shot-contesting abilities, it’s a little too easy to get to the rim against Indiana. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, though. How the Nets exploit Indiana on the perimeter is key. Myles Turner’s Atlas impression is only so convincing. Handoffs involving Ben Simmons, off-ball screens for the shooters the Nets are stocked with, and plain ol’ self-creation from Kyrie Irving should be able to compromise the perimeter.
Of course, that’ll all be moot if the Nets come out flat and disrespecting an inferior opponent, again. That shouldn’t be the case, though, considering Brooklyn is looking up at the young gunning Pacers in the standings, and have been outplayed over the course of 96 minutes against them so far, this season. But you never know with this team.
For more on the Pacers, check out Indy Cornrows.