Team Records: Brooklyn (26-28) at Portland (39-18)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -4
Refs: Ron Garretson, David Guthrie, Violet Palmer
The Skinny: The Blazers look for their fourth win in a row as they face a Nets team that is much improved since the new year. Portland comes in off its third straight win Tuesday night in Denver while the Nets have not played since Sunday in LA. Brooklyn comes in having won four of their last six.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers started slow but finished fast as they turned a nine-point deficit after one into a comfortable lead after three and cruised home. Wesley Matthews had 24 points, including 5 of 8 from three, in the win.
Projected Nets Lineup:
PF-Kevin Garnett (Farragut Academy (HS)-19th Season)-6.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.5 APG.
SF-Paul Pierce (Kansas-16th Season)-13.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.7 APG.
G-Shaun Livingston (Peoria Central (HS)-9th Season)-7.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG.
SG-Joe Johnson (Arkansas-13th Season)-15.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.7 APG.
PG-Deron Williams (Illinois-9th Season)-14.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 6.6 APG.
Player to Watch-Deron Williams (pictured at right)-Once regarded as one of the most promising young point guards in the league, Deron Williams has seen his star dim a little bit these past few years. Yet, it is easy for him to go unnoticed in the crop of incredibly talented and productive point guards in the NBA today and, although he may not be elite, he is not far behind that. Williams is capable of scoring from almost anywhere on the court, although his three point shot is not the greatest in the world. Williams is a very talented passer as well, with a 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio and is very capable of running a very good offense. He will be a key player Portland will have to lock down if they want to win Wednesday.
Did You Know?: The Nets have lost 110 player games to injury so far this season and have been forced to use 20 different starting lineups already this year.
Song of the Day: “Here’s Where I Stand” from the Movie “Camp”. In honor of Portland standing tall and winning games despite Aldridge’s absence. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee), C Meyers Leonard (Ankle), Doubtful-PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Groin), Questionable-PF Thomas Robinson (Patella Tendon)
Brooklyn: Out-C Brook Lopez (Ankle), Questionable- PG Shaun Livingston (Tailbone)
Re-Evaluating Brooklyn: On Jason Collins, Michael Sam, Glenn Burke and Acceptance
It turns out Jason Collins wasn’t actually the first openly gay player to play in one of the four major American sports leagues (MLB/NHL/NBA/NFL), that honor belongs to baseball player Glenn Burke, who was played for several MLB teams in the late 1970s. Yet, it does not diminish what Collins (and likely Michael Sam in the NFL) have shown of how far our sports culture has come. To hear Olbermann tell it, in the 1970s, Burke was traded from the Dodgers to the A’s after he came out because the LA Dodgers were not comfortable having an openly gay player on their team. Today there may not be a team in major professional sports that would NOT be okay with having an openly gay player on their roster, provided, of course, that that player is good enough to play on the team. Isn’t that after all the point of all of this? It should not matter whom a player loves, it should only matter if they can play. As the You Can Play project so movingly says, ”If you can play, you can play” and it should not, and indeed does not matter what race, national origin or sexual orientation you are.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: Make Brooklyn play from behind. This is not a Brooklyn team that is built to play from behind and evidence suggests they might well give up if you make them do so.
Brooklyn wins if: They limit Portland’s 3 point effectiveness. Portland wins when they make 3 pointers, when they don’t it can ugly. If the Nets can make Portland ineffective from deep, they will win.