Team Records: Portland (8-2) at Brooklyn (3-6)
Game Info: 4:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Brooklyn -2.5
Refs: Tony Brothers, Kevin Cutler, Brian Forte
The Skinny: The Blazers look for their seventh win a row as they travel to Brooklyn to face a struggling Nets squad. Brooklyn will once again be short-handed Monday, down Lopez and Williams and possibly Pierce as well. The Nets have only one win over a team with a winning record so far this season, a narrow one point victory over the Heat in Brookyln’s home opener.
Last Season: The Nets swept the series, the first time New Jersey/Brooklyn had swept the Blazers since the 2002-03 season.
Projected Nets Lineup:
PF-Kevin Garnett (Farragut Academy (HS)-19th Season)-5.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 APG.
SF-Paul Pierce (Kansas-16th Season)-13.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.6 APG.
C-Andray Blatche (Henniger (HS)-9th Season)-7.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.1 APG
SG-Joe Johnson (Arkansas-13th Season)-12.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.3 APG.
PG-Shaun Livingston (Peoria Central (HS)-9th Season)-8.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.3 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 last year. Lopez, when he’s on, is a very good offensive player and is a key reasons why the Nets hope to make a playoff run this year.
Note: I am aware that Lopez is out, however he was listed as probable on yesterday’s injury report so he was included as the player to watch.
Did You Know?: The Barclays Center is the only arena Portland has never won in.
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-PG CJ McCollum (Foot), Questionable-C Meyers Leonard (Illness)
Brooklyn: Out-C Brook Lopez (Ankle), PG Deron Williams (Ankle), PF Andrei Kirilenko (Back), Questionable-SF Paul Pierce (Groin), Probable-PF Kevin Garnett (Ankle)
Low efficiency on offense and bad on defense is no way to go through life, or win many games. Brooklyn is finding that out so far this year, as they have struggled mightily out of the gate, routinely losing to opponents both good and bad and often doing so in embarrassing fashion (see 19 point losses to Sacramento and Orlando). On offense, they don’t shoot particularly well from anywhere really, and they have only hit 100 points in a non-OT game three times this year. On defense they are okay, but not perhaps where Portland is strongest, from deep, allowing opponents to make nearly 39% of 3 point attempts. among the league’s worst. Add to that a lack of depth, a rookie head coach in Jason Kidd and an aging lineup that can’t play big minutes that often and you have a recipe for a team that will, at best, struggle mightily. They can be tough to beat at times but not perhaps the juggernaut many thought they would be.
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.