Reality is starting to sink in. The Brooklyn Nets are bound for the play-in tournament. They’ll have to fight their way into the playoffs. Yikes.
After dropping two games in a row and falling to 10th place in the East, the ideal situation would be to get into that 8th place spot so that they have at least two shots to make the actual playoffs.
Tuesday night’s game should - should - be a gimme as they take on the league’s worst Houston Rockets.
Should be a gimme.
But, hey, who knows anymore.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (40-38) vs. Houston Rockets (20-59)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. est
WHERE: YES (tv), WFAN-FM (radio)
Houston took the first game back in December.
The 3-point line will be critical tonight. Since the All Star break, the Nets are tops in three point efficiency as they’ve knocked down 39 percent of their shots from deep. The Rockets have done a great job of defending the three in recent weeks and have the third best opponent’s 3-point percentage since the break. The Nets haven’t done a good job defending the line (38.5 percent, fourth highest in the NBA) since the break, and they’re going to need to ensure everyone is communicating on defense and making timely rotations.
Brooklyn is a good bet to win the rebounding battle. The Rox are 29th in rebounding after the All-Star break and if the Nets can complete possessions and set the tempo to where they like it, they’ll have a great chance to jump out to a big lead. Combine that with the Rockets turning the ball over a bunch (29th in turnover rate) as young teams tend to do, and Brooklyn will have plenty of opportunities to cash in. They still have to make sure they are careful with the ball and in sync on both sides of the ball. They have no margin for error and every mistake gets magnified during this time of the year.
For more on the Rockets, check out The Dream Shake.