Team Records: Brooklyn (4-4) at Portland (6-3)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW/NBATV, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -4.5
Refs: Jason Phillips, Courtney Kirkland, Dedric Taylor
The Skinny: Its the Lopez brothers showdown we’ve waited over a year to see, due to Brook’s injury, as Brooklyn visits Portland. Brooklyn comes in having lost two straight while Portland comes in without Batum and likely without Aldridge as well, who is struggling with an illness picked up in Denver.
Last Season: The Blazers swept the season series 2-0, The Blazers are 33-6 all time against the Nets in Portland.
Projected Nets Lineup:
PF-Kevin Garnett (Farragut Academy (HS)-20th Season)-8 PPG, 8 RPG, 2.3 APG.
SF-Joe Johnson (Arkansas-14th Season)-19 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.8 APG.
C-Brook Lopez (Stanford-7th Season)-15.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, .2 APG
SG-Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia-Rookie)-10.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.3 APG.
PG-Deron Williams (Illinois-10th Season)-18.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 6.5 APG.
Player to Watch-Brook Lopez (pictured at right)-When you look at Brook Lopez you see everything you want in an NBA center, height, reasonable size and good instincts. However, Lopez, had for a number of reasons, not least among them injuries, been unable to put together a complete season so far. His rebounding is still a bit below where it should be, although its way up from the last few years and his defense is bad beyond his shot blocking but he was an allstar for a reason a few years ago. Lopez, when he’s on, is a very good offensive player and is a key reason why the Nets hope to make a playoff run this year.
Did You Know?: Nets Coach Lionel Hollins’s #14 was retired by the Blazers. Hollins was on the 1977 Championship team.
Song of the Day: “Brooklyn’s Finest” by Jay Z and the Notorious BIG-Jay Z is a Brooklyn native and a former Nets minority owner so it makes sense to use of his songs. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SF Nicolas Batum (Knee), Doubtful-PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Illness)
The Nets would be a great time, ten years ago. Filled with aging stars, even with the departure of Paul Pierce, this Nets team is just waiting until they are allowed to blow it up. They are a fair bit better this year than last, ranking among the league leaders on offense, and playing fast paced when its going well. The Nets have a number of weapons that, although they can’t play a lot of minutes, are capable of big nights from time to time. On defense, the story is not so rosy as the Nets are below average at best. Brooklyn has failed to beat any true playoff contenders this year and has really struggled against top level competition. Let’s hope that continues Saturday night.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: Win points in the paint. Especially without LMA this will be difficult to do, but if they can do so they will almost certainly win.
Brooklyn wins if: They hold Portland under 95 points. Without LMA Portland likely won’t have the offensive firepower they usually do. If Brooklyn can hold Portland under 95, they should win.