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Nets try to bounce back vs. Pistons

Washington Wizards v Detroit Pistons Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The concern level just went up a few notches. The Brooklyn Nets hosted the Charlotte Hornets in a matchup that had play in implications on Sunday night at Barclays. The Nets had their opportunities to make it happen, but fell short and took a backbreaking loss. The L cost them the season series vs. the Hornets, but they got some help on Monday night as the Denver Nuggets beat the Hornets in Charlotte. Brooklyn is currently one half game ahead of the Hornets in the standings and are in eighth place at the start of competition this evening.

The opponent tonight will be the Detroit Pistons. Duane Casey has had a rough go of it and the team is gearing up for the upcoming NBA Draft. They hosted the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon, and lost by two points.

Where to follow the game

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

Injuries

Joe Harris and Ben Simmons are out. That’s it. That’s all.

Jerami Grant is out with a left calf strain and done for the season. Hamidou Diallo is out with a left finger sprain. Chris Smith is out with a left knee sprain. Isaiah Livers is out with a concussion.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game in October, second in November, and third in December. This is the last meeting between the two teams this season.

The odds are in Brooklyn’s favor, but that’s no reason for them to let their guard down. Every game is critical and with the teams ahead of them (Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers) scuffling, they have a golden opportunity to make up ground. Any more losses will make life more difficult for them.

Back in 2015, Complex Magazine introduced the Tony Delk scale. Long story short, it’s a rating of how improbable a 50 point game. Saddiq Bey recently scored 51 points against the Orlando Magic and he might be the most unlikely 50 point scorer we’ve seen since Delk. On the season, he’s shooting 34.7 percent from three point range, but went 10-14 from deep that magical night.

Around the trading deadline, the Nets were rumored to be in on Jerami Grant. Nothing came of it, but it looks as if he will plenty of suitors this upcoming offseason, starting with the Portland Trailblazers.

Over at the Nassau Coliseum, the Long Island Nets are hosting Women’s Impact Game where they’ll be honoring the New York Liberty throughout the night. The LI Nets are battling for a playoff spot as well, so everyone across the organizations is hoping for a great night.

How often does a good 3-point shooting team miss so many wide open shots they normally make? Maybe it was night two of the back-to-back and the travel from Miami, but the team shot a nasty 20.6 percent from three and that was the ultimate difference in Sunday’s game. It was their worst shooting performance of the year on a night they could afford it the least. That said, they shouldn’t despair too much and if presented with the same clean looks, should fire it up. The team is great at all three levels and if their shots from deep aren’t falling again, they can operate in the midrange a bit more.

The turnover battle will be key tonight. The Pistons have done a decent job of taking care of the ball throughout the year and Brooklyn has been the sixth best team at forcing turnovers since the All Star break. If the Nets can get out on the run early, they’ll have a chance to set the tone and run the Pistons out of the gym.

When your team is out of it, it gives fans and management a chance to see what certain players can do and if they can be parts of the future going forward. For Marvin Bagley, this time in Detroit must feel like heaven after dealing with the Sacramento Kings to begin his pro career. As a Piston, Bagley has averaged 15 points and seven rebounds on 55 percent from the field in 27 minutes a night. He’ll do battle with the main duo of Nic Claxton and Andre Drummond. LaMarcus Aldridge is back and there might be an opportunity to get back into the lineup. Clax and Drum have been masterful over the past few weeks, so the Nets coaching staff will have to figure out how best to keep things humming.

Seems simple enough, if Kevin Durant shoots under 50 percent from the field, the Nets lose. KD only went 9-24 from the field on Sunday and like most of his teammates, missed shots he normally makes in his sleep. With two big games on the horizon, Durant will work to regain his rhythm tonight. When he last saw the Pistons, Durant delivered a 50 point extravaganza as he carved the Pistons defense up.

Player to watch: Cade Cunningham

Rookies always have a lot to work on. The speed of the NBA, the level of competition, level of responsibility, etc. always has the kids thrown for a loop their first go round. Over at Detroit Bad Boys, Matt Way identified one area for Cade Cunningham to work on during his summer vacation:

It’s becoming clearer by the game that Cade’s biggest improvement this summer needs to be his ball handling. He’s not nearly strong enough with the ball at the moment and it usually leads to multiple turnovers a night that can be easily fixed

As he winds down his first year, he’ll start to identify other areas he can get better at. Since the All Star break, Cunningham has only shot 28.4 percent from three point range and if he works to get better there, it can open things up for the Pistons now and in the future.

Life is funny. You spend so much time and energy building up to a huge moment, only for it to not meet expectations when the time comes. For Kyrie Irving and Nets fans, Sunday night was the culmination of a six month wait to see Irving at Barclays Center again after Irving chose not to get COVID-19 vaccinated, and the city prevented him from playing in NYC as a result. He was awful for most of the night, but it going late, but it wasn’t enough for the Nets. He had more success at the rim so the game plan might be for him to attack the basket more than just rely on his jumpers. Irving is one of the best finishers at the rim we’ve ever seen, so if he’s in attack mode, good things will happen for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

Happy belated birthday to a real one, Mariah Carey!

More reading: Detroit Bad Boys

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