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Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors preview: Nets begin homestand

The Warriors are not what they used to be, but Steph Curry still is.

Golden State Warriors v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Get to work and make it happen. On Saturday afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets hit the road to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly was missing a whole bunch of their big guns, including Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. It would be easy to take a wounded team for granted, but the Nets are desperate and trying to salvage their season. They used that desperation to ring the Sixers’ bell as they cruised to a much needed victory.

The opponent tonight is trying to salvage their season as well. The Golden State Warriors are still within playoff range, but it’s not gonna be easy. It got a bit harder after they suffered an overtime loss on the road to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 7:30 p.m. ET.

Injuries

No Day’Ron Sharpe, Dariq Whitehead, or Dorian Finney-Smith. The Nets are on a back-to-back, so no Ben Simmons tonight. Dennis Smith Jr is probable with right foot soreness.

Dario Saric is probable with an illness. Chris Paul is out with a left hand fracture. Moses Moody is out with a left calf strain. Gary Payton II is out with a left hamstring strain. Andrew Wiggins is doubtful with left ankle soreness.

The game

Golden State won the first meeting.

It’s never easy when you lose someone close to you. You grow a bond with them, work with them, and they become family in a lot of ways. When that person passes on, you do your best to honor their memory and try to keep moving forward. In January, Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 46. Dejan was beloved by everyone he encountered and will be missed by the basketball community around the world.

Sometimes, you need to yell at your boss. When you're working your tail off and the boss keeps preventing you from advancing to the next level, you need to let someone know that you deserve better. That’s what Jonathan Kuminga did at the beginning of January when he said he “lost faith in Steve Kerr.” Since January 5th, Kuminga has averaged 32 minutes a game and put up around 21/5/2/2/1 a night. He’s made fans in the Warriors fanbase, and he’s won Kerr over as well

“JK has really figured it out. The game has slowed down for him. He’s understanding now, when to attack, how to attack. I thought he made some good passes tonight,” said Kerr.

“He’s so powerful and explosive going to the rim, and I think he just sees the floor better than ever. This past month, I think he’s just really broken through, and it’s been amazing to watch. Two and a half years of a lot of work, ups and downs, and he’s stayed with it the whole time. I’m so impressed with what he’s done. He’s becoming a hell of a player.”

That’s what’s up.

Brooklyn’s pick from the 2021 NBA Draft continues to impress on this side as well. Cam Thomas was excellent on Saturday as his 40 points led the Nets and made sure the 76ers could never really get back into the game. Thomas has scored at least 25 points in five straight games, and it’s getting harder and harder to see how he can possibly go back to the bench.

When we last saw the Warriors, Draymond Green was beginning his suspension after he struck Jusuf Nurkic in the face. Since he’s been back, he’s helped get the Warriors defense back under control. Even with all of the #antics, Green is still one of the most cerebral, intense players to ever play in the NBA. When he’s playing, he still has the ability to impact the game in a million ways.

Player to watch: Steph Curry

It’s always great to witness an all timer still operating at peak capacity. Even as they get older, their feats of magic and excellence still leave you astounded and appreciative of everything they’ve given the game. That’s where Stephen Curry finds himself these days as he’s still one of the league’s best, most popular, and most acclaimed players. He’s seventh in the NBA in scoring at 28 points a night and is someone who can bury you at a moment’s notice. The Nets know the feeling all too well as he chased them down in the first meeting and took over late in the game. For Brooklyn, their job is to try and slow him down as best as possible and hope he doesn’t go for 40+ tonight.

Curry’s heading to Indianapolis for the All-Star Game, and when he’s there, he’ll be taking part in a fun competition. Steph will face Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty in a 3-point contest with the proceeds going to charity. Over the weekend, Team USA held mini camps at Barclays Center, and Sab was asked about the contest:

It should make for an awesome experience in the arena and watching at home!

Mikal Bridges may not shoot threes like his pal Ionescu, but he’s getting ‘em up though. He’s taken at least 12 3-pointers in each of his last three games and we’re seeing him become more confident in his shot from deep every night out. Coming into this season, his career high in 3-pointers attempted in a single game was ten, so this is a bit of a change for him. Back in November, our own Lucas Kaplan took a look at Bridges’ growth and where he could take his game next:

Bridges’ increased volume from deep can take his game to newer heights and open things up for the rest of his teammates. Against a Warriors team desperate for a win, we’ll see how he takes on the challenge awaiting him.

From the Vault

Curb Your Enthusiasm is back! I could be here all day, so let’s get re-acquainted with Larry David

More reading: Golden State of Mind, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, Blue Man Hoop