That was needed in the worst. The Brooklyn Nets were on the road to face the Boston Celtics on Friday night, and it was ugly, ugly, ugly. The C’s started strong and jumped out to a 28 point lead. However, the Nets had one of those “this can’t happen anymore” realizations and got to work. They gradually chipped away at the Boston lead, and wound up winning by ten on Friday. The win snapped three losing streaks at once:
- the current four-game losing streak
- the six-game road losing streak
- the ten-game (regular season and playoffs) losing streak to the C’s
A good day at the office all things considered.
The opponent tonight will be the Charlotte Hornets. It’s been a struggle this season and they lost to the Orlando Magic at home on Friday night. Charlotte is headed for the lottery and hoping they strike gold (aka Victor Wembanyama) this spring.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 6 PM.
No Edmund Sumner of Ben Simmons. Yuta Watanabe is questionable with back soreness.
Cody Martin is out with left knee soreness. PJ Washington is probable with a right foot strain. Lamelo Ball fractured his right ankle on Monday night and he will be out the rest of the season.
Generally speaking, I love media availability. It gives you a chance to go inside the game with coaches and players, pick up things you may not catch in the flow of a game, and talk strategy with men and women who know the game on a deep level. Recently, Nekias Duncan of The Dunker Spot and Basketball News got a chance to talk with Hornets coach, Steve Clifford, about defense in the NBA, and he gave a great response:
Always a pleasure talking to Hornets head coach Steve Clifford, one of the most candid guys we have in the league.— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) March 2, 2023
Asked him where he sees defense going in the midst of the offensive explosion league-wide, and got a really detailed response. pic.twitter.com/dQkKx38t2P
That’s what’s up.
The Nets have some reinforcements coming in. On Saturday, the team agreed to sign Nerlens Noel to a ten-day contract. Nothing is official yet. The Nets are probably trying to time the beginning of the ten-day. Under league rules, teams can sign players to two consecutive ten-day before having to decide whether to keep him. Still, Noel should give the Nets a suitable backup option at center and some much needed size to go along with Nic Claxton.
The Nets have fallen to last in the NBA in rebounding (!!), which makes them essentially tying the Celtics on the boards Friday night all the more surprising. Charlotte is near the bottom of the league with Brooklyn, so whoever owns the boards has a great chance to control the pace of this contest and make something happen.
Mark Williams figures to be a thorn in Brooklyn’s side. The rookie big man is the best rebounder left on the team and figures to be someone they keep in the years ahead. He and Claxton will battle on the inside and look to protect the rim when teams get to the basket.
Like most games these days, this one will probably come down to 3-point shooting. The Nets are still second in the league in three point efficiency, while the Hornets are second worst in three point efficiency. What will help the Hornets is the Nets are allowing teams to shoot 37.5% from 3-point range, fourth highest in the league. We’ve just spent the past week watching the Nets play God-awful defense, so they’re going to need to be serious and lock in for all 48 minutes.
Mikal Bridges will look to follow up on his Boston masterclass. Bridges is the team’s lead option, and it’s a role that suits him pretty well. Since making the move to Brooklyn, Bridges is averaging 25.3 points as a Net while putting up shooting splits of 54/50/94. He’s stepped up a tremendous deal and is the player Nets fans are turning to as he leads them into the next era. Charlotte will likely throw Kelly Oubre on Bridges tonight. Oubre plays with a toughness and physicality that has served him well throughout his time in the league.
And if you’re not doing anything at 1:00 p.m. ET, you can watch the Nets two prodigals, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving face off on ABC. That’s Phoenix vs. Dallas.
Player to watch: Terry Rozier
With Ball out for the season, Rozier will pick up more responsibility. Although he’s averaging a career high 21.4 points per game, his three point shooting has taken another dip. It’s decreased in each of the past three seasons and he’s down to only 33.2 percent shooting from deep on eight attempts a game. For the Nets, if they can keep him off the free throw line and stuck on the perimeter, they’ll have a great chance of coming away with the win.
Spencer Dinwiddie was key to the Nets comeback as he attacked the basket when he got mismatches and kept things humming along even as Boston picked up the intensity.
When Dinwiddie is getting down hill, he’s at his best and he opens things up for his teammates.
From the Vault
SZA will be at MSG tonight as part of the SOS Tour. It’s a good time as any to throw it back to CTRL
More reading: At the Hive.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Charlotte Hornets Game Notes - Charlotte Hornets
- Nets look to build on dramatic win with Hornets up next - STATS
- Bridges, Nets host the Hornets - AP
- New-look Nets know they have to keep picking up pace - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Tough defense could fuel turnaround for new-look Nets - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Inside the divergent and yet forever connected paths of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving - Tim MacMahon & Brian Windhorst - ESPN
- Hornets’ Bryce McGowens is hitting the dreaded rookie wall. He has to crash through it - Rod Boone - Charlotte Observer