Not all the way there. The Brooklyn Nets had a chance to inch one step closer to the playoffs on Tuesday night. The Minnesota Timberwolves found themselves in the same position as they tried to secure their own seed. In a back and forth contest, Minnesota had just enough to survive and they handed the Nets a tough loss. The magic number remains at two.
The opponent tonight is deep in the rebuilding process. The Detroit Pistons have struggled this season as their youngsters hope to pick up some valuable experience that they hope will guide them into the future. They took another loss as the Miami Heat beat them last night in Detroit. They’ve now lost ten in a row and 21 out of their last 22 games.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 7 PM.
No Ben Simmons.
No Bojan Bogdanovic, Cade Cunningham, Marvin Bagley III, Hamadou Diallo, Isaiah Stewart, Rodney McGruder, or Alec Burks. Isaiah Livers left last night’s game after suffering an ankle sprain, but he returned to action.
Losing is never fun, and when the team has to put out an open letter to the fanbase about it, that makes things more frustrating. That’s what Pistons general manager, Troy Weaver, had to do recently.
Pistons fans have a lot of hope for the future, and a lot of it rides on the shoulders of Jaden Ivey. Ivey has steadily improved throughout the season and is a good bet to make the All Rookie team. Over at the mothership, Jackson Frank wrote about Ivey’s game and said:
His speed has long served as a prevalent component of his skill-set. Early in the year, it enabled him to generate paint touch after paint touch. But he often operated like he was wearing Heelys absent a break and drove himself into precarious spots. The freedom he’s given still leads to some, albeit much less frequent, similar sequences, yet his change of pace and court vision are considerably improved now.
He better engages pick-and-roll defenders to fashion passing or scoring windows and treats his marquee burst as an omnipresent threat rather than a tool necessary of constant deployment. It will always be available, but he doesn’t have to wear out the accelerator for an entire possession. The result of that understanding is more fruitful ball-screen possessions and playmaking maturation.
Also, we’ll be seeing Ivey in Brooklyn as he will be a speaker at this year’s ESPNW Summit NYC on May 4th. Joining him will be two of the newest members of the New York Liberty, Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot! Should be fun.
Young teams tend to foul a lot, and the Pistons are no exception. Since the All Star break, they have allowed 28 free throws per game, second highest in the NBA. For Brooklyn, the plan should be to attack, attack, attack. If they can get this young team on the move and off balance, it will open up driving lanes for the team and a bushel of open three pointers should Detroit overhelp.
With this being night two of a back-to-back for both teams, we’ll see what the rotations will look like. Brooklyn didn’t utilize most of their bench outside of Royce O’Neale, so we’ll see what Jacque Vaughn will do tonight. The Pistons like to play big, so tonight should be an opportunity for Day’Ron Sharpe to play more than three minutes.
Late game offense is still something the Nets have to figure out, and that starts with Spencer Dinwiddie. He had a mostly great night on Tuesday, as his 30 points and six assists (with no turnovers) led the Nets. However, the offense went cold late and they couldn’t get the best shots on offense. Dinwiddie has struck a great balance of aggressiveness and distribution, and the coaching staff will have to work to ensure he strikes that proper balance when it’s late and close.
Player to watch: James Wiseman
Playing time matters a lot. When you’re young, you need the chance to learn on the job and play through mistakes. If you don’t get reps, you won’t have a chance to grow. And when your timeline doesn’t match the team’s, you’re in deep trouble. That’s where James Wiseman found himself for much of the season as he could never find a rhythm with the Golden State Warriors. He got traded to Detroit prior to the All Star break, and it looks like he’s starting to figure some things out. He’s averaged around 13 points and eight rebounds on 53.6 percent shooting from the field since joining the Pistons. He still has plenty of work to do when it comes to making the proper reads on defense, but he just turned 22 years old a few days ago, so he has plenty of time to figure it out.
Nic Claxton will look to bounce back tonight. The Nets went small late last night, so Clax only played 32 minutes. They’ll need a full night at the office from the big guy if they want to get back in the winner’s circle. The Nets have been better on the boards recently, and if Claxton can continue protecting the rim well, it’ll help the Nets get out in transition and get easy buckets.
From the Vault
It’s a beautiful feeling when you finally take down your rivals
More reading: Detroit Bad Boys
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Detroit Pistons Game Notes - Detroit Pistons
- Nets meet Pistons, look to hang on to No. 6 seed - STATS
- Detroit faces Brooklyn, looks to end 10-game skid - AP
- Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren giving Pistons fans something to cling to in dismal season - Omari Sankofa - Detroit Free Press