Close, but not all the way there. The Brooklyn Nets fought back after falling behind by as much as 17 points, but it ultimately wasn’t enough as the Sacramento Kings lit the beam and beat Brooklyn on Thursday night at Barclays Center. The Nets have been off since then and will be getting some more home cooking for the next couple of days.
The opponent today is atop the Western Conference, but plenty of questions remain. The Denver Nuggets currently hold a 3.5 game lead on both the Kings and Memphis Grizzlies, but they’ve been struggling as of late. They lost their fifth game out of their past six on Saturday afternoon to the New York Knicks.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Day party so we’re getting going at 3:30 PM.
No Ben Simmons.
No Collin Gillespie.
Brooklyn won the first meeting last week.
Maintaining rhythm matters a lot. Once you’re on the go, you want to keep at it and not have it disturbed. Michael Porter, Jr. would agree
Just heard from Michael Porter Jr. in the postgame locker room. @VidaVivaDiva asked MPJ about finding a rhythm. Porter answered: "(He) sat me the whole fourth and put me in with 20 seconds left, I think. So, I mean it’s impossible to catch a rhythm then."— Vinny Benedetto (@VBenedetto) March 12, 2023
Eek. Porter Jr is someone that will be critical to any chances the Nuggets have this postseason. He’s the third scoring option and someone
Mikal Bridges is one of the best cutters in the NBA, and that will come in handy today. The Nuggets allow teams to shoot 71.1 percent inside the restricted area, second highest in the league this year. Denver’s defense has had issues, and they’re going to need to start cleaning it up in a hurry. For the Nets, this should be an invitation to attack the basket as frequently as humanly possible. If they can, it’ll help them get into that subpar Nuggets bench in a hurry.
The Nuggets essentially have the No. 1 seed in the West locked up, which may have caused them to take their foot off the gas pedal, losing five of their last six including one Saturday to the Knicks. However, this still presents an opportunity for them to figure things out and prepare for the battlefield that is the playoffs. Katie Heindl has more over at Gaming Society:
The deceptive silver lining for Denver comes with the reality that they could stand to lose a slew more games of their remaining 13 and clinch number one in the West. That they decide to stay in “chill mode”, as Malone put it, from here on out. The real silver lining is to use this last volatile stretch to their advantage, especially when playing teams facing down their own futility.
The Nuggets haven’t made it out of the West under Malone’s tenure, haven’t made good on the duo of Murray and perennial MVP Jokic, or the momentum the team has rolled through the majority of their regular seasons with. In the playoffs, Denver tends to get bogged down in what has worked, rather than game plan for the ugly, volatile basketball that winning four series in a row tends to require.
The 82-game grind tests you in a myriad of ways, and for this Nuggets team, the job is to make it to the end in one piece and hope they can turn up once the big dance gets started.
When the Nuggets leave New York, they’ll be taking a friend of ours with them...
My main man Matt Brooks will be working with the Nuggets! Matt is one of the kindest, smartest writers out there and I always found myself learning something new every time I read his articles. It’s great to see good people win and on behalf of everyone here, we’re excited to see Matt climb even higher heights.
As we say goodbye to our friend, we welcome one of our old ones back to town! Bruce Brown is back and he should get a nice ovation from the Brooklyn faithful. BB was a solid player in Brooklyn and really was a key part of that 2020-2021 team taking off the way they did.
Player to watch: Nikola Jokic
Basketball is incredibly fun if you let it be. The players are super athletic, are able to do things that look impossible to the common fan, and wow us every time they step on the court. If you view the game in that lens and appreciate all of the greatness on display, life would be pretty smooth. However, that is decidedly NOT the NBA universe we inhabit, so we’re stuck with legacy talk, narratives, and rings all day long. In a roundabout way, this is me saying enjoy watching Nikola Jokic and his awesome play. Everything else is just annoying to listen to.
In the meantime, the Joker will look to clean one area of his game up. The big guy turned it over six times yesterday at MSG, and quiet as its kept, his turnover rate is at a career high this season. When possessions take on a greater premium and defenses get even tighter, he will need to take better care of the rock. When he catches it in the post, he’s essentially automatic and a nightmare to defend. On the other side, teams are shooting 50.8% against him when he defends them. We’ve also seen clips of him struggling in pick-and-roll coverage, so look for teams to try and take full advantage of that when all the chips are on the line.
Nic Claxton has some help coming in. The team signed Moses Brown on Friday and he will provide some backup minutes so Claxton can take some load off of his shoulders. Claxton had a showcase game against Jokic as his 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists helped pace the Nets attack. Claxton has another big week ahead of him as he faces some more elite competition in the frontcourt.
From the Vault
On Friday, it was announced that Lance Reddick passed away at the age of 60. With that in mind, let’s revisit two of my favorite scenes of his from The Wire.
More reading: Denver Stiffs
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Denver Nuggets Game Notes - Denver Nuggets
- Nets look to correct rebounding issues as they face Nuggets - STATS
- Brooklyn faces Denver in non-conference play - AP
- Why the Nets are relying more on a smallball lineup - Brian Lewis - New York Post Sports+
- Nets looking for another big effort vs. West-leading Nuggets - Ryan Dunleavy - New York Post
- Moses Brown on being a Net: ‘Just cool to be home’ - Ryan Dunleavy - New York Post
- This week can make or break Nets’ season - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Nuggets next in line as Nets’ tough stretch continues: ‘We all know math, and we see the seeding’ - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets mailbag: Potential playoff seeding, roster untouchables, draft prospects and more - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Nuggets Journal: Jamal Murray and the “daily conversation” surrounding him - Mike Singer - Denver Post