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Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Clippers preview: Nets look to take two in LA

A matinee in LA! The Nets look to go 2-0 in Los Angeles

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

National TV games always take on extra importance. All eyes are on you and your performance will drive the discussion surrounding your team afterwards. When you come in on a bad spell, a bad showing will push your team even further into the abyss. However, if you show up and show out,

The early part of Friday was pretty terrible for the Brooklyn Nets. The team came into the day riding a four-game losing streak and everything looked as if it was falling apart. There were questions as to what the roster will look like after the deadline and even questions as to the effort from certain players. And they were facing a Los Angeles Lakers team that had won back-to-back games against playoff teams earlier in the week. It had all the makings of a bad loss, but something funny happened along the way. All the bad energy surrounding the Nets was minimized, for at least one night as they won comfortably.

The opponent today is feeling pretty darn good these days. The Los Angeles Clippers have been humming along and are back to contention. They’ve been off for a few days after a signature win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday evening.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Brunch and basketball so we getting started after 3:30 p.m. ET.

Injuries

No Ben Simmons, Day’Ron Sharpe or Dariq Whitehead.

Ivica Zubac has been out with a calf strain and will be out again.

The game

The Nets won the first meeting.

Funny how time flies. When we last saw the Clippers around these parts, they were integrating James Harden into their plans and were scuffling. Everyone got their bars off at their expense and were ready to write them off. However, they’ve gotten their act together and figure to be hell on wheels come playoff time.

Along the way, they’ve been pretty quiet in the broader NBA landscape. Over at Basketball Feelings, the amazing Katie Heindl wrote about superteams and things of that nature:

At first, it seemed antithetical to the concept of the superteam to be demure, even forgettable. Every modern iteration has been loud, flashy, brimming with bravado that threatens to and ultimately does boil over and turn caustic, leading to a slow dissolution or drawn-out demise but a definite perishing, in the end. That’s been the “natural” cycle of the modern superteam. There may be seasonal renaissances, like roster retooling or fresh coaching that keeps a team going for another year, but the strain of all that star-power is plain from the outset and will eventually rupture. Even the most successful, like James’ make-good Cavs and these Dubs-era Warriors, succumbed, are succumbing.

We’ve seen it go so full-circle that the last and biggest version, the Durant-Irving-Harden Nets, a superteam formed entirely from athlete-driven autonomy (and deep-pockets ownership), failed so spectacularly that it became the death knell for the superteam. The white dwarf of the NBA’s cosmically loaded landscape, still smoldering quietly as a cautionary tale for any players who might still want to give it such a publicly presumptuous try.

Spectacular indeed.

Speaking of spectacular, Cam Thomas is looking for an LA encore this afternoon. Thomas came off the bench and lit the Nets on fire to the tune of 33 points and four assists on 13-18 shooting from the field. How great was his night?

When you get that stamp of approval, nobody can tell you a thing. The Nets will need Thomas to find that spark early and juice up the offense when he gets on the court.

Without Zubac, Nic Claxton will be seeing an old friend of ours, Mason Plumlee. It doesn’t feel like he’s been around a decade, but he has!

The Nets will have their hands full with Paul George. In addition to being an awesome podcaster, PG has continued to play at an All Star level and is good for a silky smooth 24 points a game on 47/42/91 shooting splits. George has helped lead the Clips to a league leading 39.6 percent from three point range. The Nets defense has been porous for a while, and they’ll need to ensure that they’re communicating well and are timely with their rotations throughout the night. If they’re not, George is liable to go off for 30+ points.

Spencer Dinwiddie was the center of attention for much of the day on Friday. His recent stretch of terrible play had everyone wondering what in the world was going on with him. He quieted those concerns for a night with an inspired, all around performance of 19 points and four assists in 33 minutes.

Player to watch: Kawhi Leonard

The Fun Guy is having a fun time! Earlier this month, Leonard signed a contract extension that GM Lawrence Frank hopes will eventually lead to George and Harden signing their extensions when their time comes. It’s well deserved and Leonard has put together another terrific season. Leonard is averaging around 24 points a game on 52/44/88 shooting splits. Leonard can score from everywhere on the court and never feels sped up...

If the game gets close, Ty Lue can count on Leonard to make things happen.

We know Mikal Bridges for his work in the midrange, but quiet as its kept, he’s been letting it fly from deep. Bridges averages six 3-point attempts a night, and is shooting around 34.8%. The Nets need Bridges to find his way to the basket more frequently so he can make the most out of his work on offense. With this being the last leg of a three game road trip and the New York Knicks awaiting them on Tuesday, a win would do wonders for the Nets and their fans.

From the Vault

On Friday evening, news broke that Marlena Shaw passed away at the age of 81. Let’s celebrate the icon with a Sunday double play

More reading: Clipperholics, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, 213 Hoops