The road trip continues. And within that road trip comes losses that are inevitable. The Brooklyn Nets traveled to Denver to face the Nuggets after a great win vs the Phoenix Suns the night before. They tried, but the champs are too good and that altitude is a beast. Add that to a Nikola Jokic triple double and you’ve got all the makings of a blowout loss. It’s like that some times.
For the first time in a really, really long time, the Golden State Warriors are in a state of turmoil. The team is not where they want to be, some of the former All Stars are underachieving, and the competition is only getting tougher. The road got a little bit harder after they lost on Thursday night to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 8:30 p.m. ET.
No Ben Simmons, Lonnie Walker IV or Dennis Smith Jr. Dorian Finney-Smith is expected to play.
Gary Payton II is out with a right calf strain. Draymond Green is... yeah, we have to talk about Draymond Green.
Bigger than the game
Draymond Green is suspended indefinitely after he struck Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face during Tuesday night’s game. It’s the second suspension Green has gotten this season after he got five games for putting Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves in a chokehold. It’s been a worrying, concerning run for Green and maybe this is the moment where he finally addresses what’s going on with him. Brady Klopfer of Golden State of Mind has more:
“It’s clear that Green needs help, in some form or fashion. At the surface level, something needs to change, because he can’t continue with this behavior, which seems to only be getting worse. And for a player who has inked hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts, plus sizable endorsements, while also having multiple side jobs in media, suspensions and fines simply weren’t going to be an incentive for the behavior to change.
But it goes without saying that it’s below the surface level where something really needs to change. I will not provide backseat psychology, especially in public, but there is obviously something triggering this behavior that needs to be addressed for Green’s well-being.”
That’s something our (fomer) guy Kevin Durant echoed as well..
“I hope Draymond gets the help that he needs. There’s been incident after incident. I know Draymond, and … he hasn’t been that way when I was around him and coming into the league. So, hopefully he gets the help he needs, and get back on the court and put all this stuff behind him.”
Incidents like these are disturbing and cause for concern. Green has been such an integral part of the Warriors franchise for about a decade now, but the past year has been a great cause for concern. His actions have made the work environment more toxic for his teammates and opponents alike, and it's caused us to take our attention away from the game. Whenever he gets back, the Warriors hope that he is in the right frame of mind. Hopefully this time away helps him out.
In the meantime, Steve Kerr has to make some more adjustments. One of them was to put Andrew Wiggins on the bench. It’s been a terrible season for Wiggins thus far as his shot just hasn't been there. He didn't help matters by reportedly coming in to training camp out of shape. With Wiggins on the bench, Jonathan Kuminga is in the starting five. Kuminga gives this team the shot of athleticism it so desperately needs. The Warriors are trying to figure out a possible future, and they’re going to need him feeling comfortable and confident.
Kuminga will get a great test when he defends Mikal Bridges. Due to the blowout, Bridges only played a season low 24 minutes on Thursday night. He should have a bit more energy in reserve tonight and will look to get into the paint early and often. The Warriors don’t allow many shots in the restricted area, but in the painted area outside of it? They allow 23 shots a game and let teams shoot a league high 50.4 percent there. Spencer Dinwiddie loves a floater so look for that shot to be available for him and the Nets all night long.
As a team, the Warriors are third in the NBA in rebounding. They’ll rely on that as they deal with Nic Claxton on the inside. Clax is super versatile and he’s doing more and more on the offensive end. For this game, they’re going to need his ability to switch on defense will come in extra handy tonight.
Ultimately, the Warriors will only go as far as Stephen Curry can carry them. Curry keeps keeping on as he is currently seventh in the NBA in scoring at 28.6 points per game on .460/.413/.938 shooting splits. As we know all too well, Curry can shoot from anywhere on the planet so the Nets will need to stick to him like glue.
Player to watch: Klay Thompson
What do you do when you still have the desire to be what you once were, but you just can’t? That’s where Klay Thompson finds himself these days as he tries to get his season back on track. He’s at season lows in scoring, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage. There was some media speculation of putting him on the bench, but that’s probably never gonna happen. He had his best game of the season on Thursday with a season high 30 points. He got his points in the ways we’re used to, as Joe Viray pointed out over at Golden State of Mind:
If Thompson keeps hitting these threes — especially when coming around handoffs and pindowns off the ball, a role he has played much better compared to being an on-ball creator — defenses will be compelled to keep playing aggressive coverages against him.
Which will open up opportunities to make the easy pass and create easier decision-making windows for someone who needs his reads to be simplified
When all else fails, go with what you know and trust what got you this far.
This game will be a great test for Cam Thomas. Even with Thompson's struggles, he's still one of the deadliest shooters the game of basketball has ever seen. You can't afford to fall asleep and lose track of your assignment because if you do, it's three points going the other way. As the Nets tinker and experiment with things, Thomas will play a role in what they hope to accomplish now and in the future.
From the Vault
Beyonce’s self titled album turned ten a few days ago. It was one of the best, most impactful and influential albums of the 2010s and a classic in every sense of the word. My favorite song on the album varies when you catch me, and today I’m in this kinda mood
Always and forever
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Golden State Warriors Game Notes - Golden State Warriors
- Why the Nets hope Cam Thomas’ shooting slump is the spark that unlocks more of his game ($) - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets struggling to find an offensive spark without injured players - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- Nets still searching for that signature win ($) - Evan Barnes - Newsday
- It’s time, Steph Curry: Give your blessing to break up the Warriors core - Alex Siquig - San Francisco Examiner