Another good day on the board. Fresh off their comeback victory on the road against the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets made a quick pit stop at Barclays Center on Sunday evening. The Charlotte Hornets were waiting for them, and Brooklyn took care of business as they won by 16 points. Tonight is the first leg of a five-game road trip which will take the Nets from Houston to Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Denver and Oklahoma City.
The opponent tonight is focused on June (but they have won two straight.) The Houston Rockets are deep into their rebuilding process and are hoping for brighter days ahead. They beat the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night in Houston by 32 points. The Rockets are last in the league, and they hope to stay there for the rest of the season.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 8 PM.
No Ben Simmons. David Duke Jr. and Dru Smith are with the Long Island Nets who go for their 15th straight at 11:00 a.m. vs. the Motor City Cruise at Nassau Coliseum.
All clear for the Rockets.
So, the Rockets can be a bit of an adventure...
From @NekiasNBA, @stevejones20 & the @dunkerspotpod play back pic.twitter.com/f3yWZBNolu https://t.co/4u6Ye6a2Ty— JC’s Dad. (@JDub9911) January 17, 2023
Oh my. As you can already imagine, the Rockets are focused on the NBA Draft, and the organization will be figuring out if the current coaching staff and members of the roster will be part of the next era of Houston basketball.
Deep shooting will tell the tale tonight. The Nets are third in 3-point efficiency, while the Rockets are tied for the worst 3-point shooting in the NBA. If the Nets can heat up from deep early, they have a great chance to put the Rockets down early and keep them down there. With a difficult road trip awaiting them, the Nets will need to be locked in early so they can set the tone of the next week of games.
Mikal Bridges has been on fire, and he'll look to keep the party going. Bridges was magnificent again on Sunday as he scored 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds on .571/.500/.875 shooting splits. The great thing about Bridges is he’s always able to get to his spot on the floor and make something good happen.
He’s been incredible as a Net and is someone that can take over the game and push the team to victory.
It takes time for guards to find their way, and Jalen Green is trying to strike that proper balance. His scoring average is up as he takes on more responsibility, but the decision making and shooting efficiency isn’t where you want it quite yet.
Player to watch: Alperen Sengun
As Houston tries to build towards the future, they have a young building block that should be here for many years to come. Over at The Dream Shake, James Piercey wrote about the 6’11” big guy and said:
“Sengun is the only player on this team you could safely assume could be the focal point of a good NBA offense someday. His crafty footwork and prodigious passing vision give him the makings of an offensive engine.”
In his 28 minutes per game on the court, he’s averaging close to 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists a night on 55% shooting from the field. He’s also a great passing big man and as he and his young teammates get more experience, the Rockets offense will begin to climb the rankings. Sengun has gotten benched a few times by Stephen Silas, and for a team that needs its young players to get as many reps as possible, that’s a questionable decision. You need to give young players the room and freedom to learn, screw up, and get better.
The Nets have some more size in the frontcourt, and it’ll come in handy tonight. Nerlens Noel figures to make his Nets debut tonight, and he’ll back up Nic Claxton. Claxton had his usual solid day at the office with 8/12/3/3 in 26 minutes of action vs. Charlotte. Clax and Noel will get a workout guarding the basket as the Rockets are fourth in the league in shots inside the restricted area, but are third worst in efficiency. If the Nets can shut the Rockets off at the rim and keep them off the foul line, they’ll be able to control the flow of the game.
From the Vault
The Rockets are currently praying they get the top pick in the Draft and select a generational prospect. It’s worked before...
More reading: The Dream Shake
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Houston Rockets Game Notes - Houston Rockets
- Mikal Bridges, Nets playing solid heading to Houston - STATS
- Green and Houston take on Brooklyn in non-conference action - AP
- Mikal Bridges’ blossoming mid-range game could get him more Nets leeway - Andrew Crane - New York Post
- Jacque Vaughn increasing Nets starters’ minutes to prepare for playoffs - Andrew Crane - New York Post
- When will Ben Simmons return? Nets don’t know - Denis P. Gorman
- How Nets’ Nic Claxton is fixing the weakness that once held him back: free throws - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Jacque Vaughn: Ben Simmons dealing with back inflammation - Filfi Frimpong - New York Daily News
- Rockets vs. Nets: 5 things to watch in Tuesday’s game - Danielle Lerner - Houston Chronicle