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Mason Plumlee (AP)

Mason Plumlee (AP)

After a fourth (4th! Quatro! Vier!) win against the Miami Heat this year, the Brooklyn Nets find themselves in their least favorite position: on the second day of a back-to-back. Luckily, they’re in Orlando to take on the lowly, 22-win Magic, who are trying their hardest to grab a few more ping-pong balls at season’s end for the upcoming NBA Draft. With Kevin Garnett in and Paul Pierce out, Brooklyn will try to keep their slim chances at the fourth seed alive.

Here’s three things to watch for in tonight’s game.
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Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce

Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce (AP)

Although the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are separated by 8.5 games in the standings, their showdown at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday may be their most important matchup yet this season.

With the Nets jockeying for home-court advantage in the first round and the Knicks struggling to make it at all, they find themselves in the unique position of potentially getting to deliver one of the final blows to the Knicks’ nightmare season.

The last time these teams met, they were trending in opposite directions-- the Nets in the midst of their January revival and the Knicks in their winter free-fall. Since then, Kidd has notched two Coach of the Month Awards and has the Nets playing like an elite team in the Eastern Conference. Lots has changed since the Nets blew out the Knicks 103-80 on January 20th. Check out the position-by-position starting lineup breakdown ahead!

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Jason Collins (AP)

Jason Collins (AP)

Jason Collins has admitted that he's been the attention of anti-gay taunts from an opponent, reported in an interview with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Since Collins became the first openly gay professional athlete, the NBA and its players have been undeniably in support of the center. However, not everybody was going to be content with the game's recent evolution.

While Collins wouldn't out the player, he stated: "one knucklehead from another team."

Some believe that not revealing the name of the player may encourage more of the same behavior, but Collins isn't worried about that. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself just being professional.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Jason Collins will be signed by the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the season, reports Rod Boone of Newsday. Although it's not official yet, Kidd confirmed this news today at practice in Miami.

Many wondered if the Nets would sign the hard-screening, even harder-fouling Collins past his two ten-day contracts, noting, however, that he brought tons of defensive intelligence in the paint that the team lacked without Garnett on the floor.

So far this year, the seven-footer has averaged 0.6 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.3 APG and has racked up 18 personal fouls in just 77 minutes, but his contributions go far beyond the statistics.

 

Kevin Garnett will miss his seventh straight game on Saturday against Washington and Andrei Kirilenko will likely be a Game-Time Decision, reports Rod Boone of Newsday.

Garnett's back pulled him out of Monday's game against Toronto during shoot-around, but Jason Kidd believes there's no concern yet. Kirilenko left the game against Sacramento last week with a sprained ankle and it continues to ail him. He had hoped to play Wednesday against Miami, but the team held him out after warm-ups.

If neither can go Saturday, they'll look towards Monday's game against Phoenix to get back on the court healthy.

 

 

Marcus Thornton (AP)

Marcus Thornton (AP)

The Nets and Kings are currently discussing a deal that would send guard Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. In return, Brooklyn would send Jason Terry and Reggie Evans to Sacramento.

Both Terry and Evans have had trouble carving out predictable rotation minutes for the Nets so far this season. Thornton, 26, is averaging 8.3 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 26 minutes a game. Known as a sharpshooter, Thornton could more effectively fill the role that Jason Terry was supposed to have coming into the season.

Marcus Thornton signed in 2011 for 4 years and $31.15 million with the Sacramento Kings. He is making $8.05 million in 2013-2014. His contract would come off the books after next season, effectively making him useful trade bait as an expiring contract.

In a follow-up tweet, Wojnarowski also notes: "For Sacramento and Brooklyn, this is one of several conversations officials are having with several teams." 

Could this be the third mystery team that Cleveland wanted to involve before dealing Jarrett Jack as reported yesterday?

 

Jordan Hill (AP)

Jordan Hill (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers have discussed a possible deal surrounding Jordan Hill, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Such a trade would be absorbed into the Disabled Player Exception after Brook Lopez's season ending surgery.

The talks are preliminary, but the Nets have been in the market for a post defender. After Garnett, Brooklyn doesn't have any standout defenders in the paint and Hill could fill that need.

It's unclear where talks currently stand: Brooklyn may have just floated the offer to start a conversation and the Lakers could be mulling it over or may have even rejected it already.

So far this year, Hill has averaged nearly 9 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes per game.

The Nets have until March 10th to use their DPE on a FA or by February 20th in a trade. So if talks for Hill fall apart it's likely that a new rumor will crop up eventually. The Brooklyn Game discussed in length what options the Nets have moving forward with the DPE here.

 

Jarret Jack (AP)

Jarret Jack (AP)

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN-NY tweeted today that the Brooklyn Nets may be looking into a Jason Terry for Jarrett Jack swap.

With Thursday's Trade Deadline looming, the sinking ship in Cleveland may be looking to deal off their expensive off-season pick-up. Like Terry, Jack is a former 6th Man of the Year Award winner but has struggled to fit with his new team.

Terry is currently signed for 2 more years after this one. He is making $5.23 million in 2013-2014. Jack's deal is another year longer than Terry's and makes nearly a million more per year.

Worth noting is that Jack cannot be swallowed into the Disabled Player Exception (an avenue opened by Brook Lopez's season ending surgery) because he makes too much money and isn't in the final year of his contract.

However, Jack's contract comes with a team option on a partially guaranteed contract in the fourth year. If the Nets were to waive him before the deadline, much like the Cavaliers did with Andrew Bynum this year, they would only owe the point guard $500,000. Practically speaking, it means that Jack's contract will expire after the 2015-2016 season, allowing the Nets to remain, for now, in the hunt for Kevin Durant.

Since moving Shaun Livingston into the starting lineup, the Nets have had a hard time finding production off the bench at the guard spot. Adding a guard of Jack's caliber could be an incredible move for Brooklyn and comes at a much lower price than what was rumored for Toronto's Kyle Lowry.

If the Nets are able to snag Jarrett Jack for a wholly disappointing Jason Terry without giving up any assets (Picks, Bogdanovic) then they should.

Update: ESPN has reported that the Cavaliers would like to find a 3rd team to take on Terry's contract before continuing on.

 

Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce

Joe Johnson (right), seven-time All-Star. (AP)

Less than a month ago, before Brooklyn finally decided to win some basketball games, the possibility of any Nets making the All-Star Game in New Orleans seemed incredibly bleak.

Enter Joe Johnson. Joe Johnson's game-winning buzzer beater in Oklahoma City against the Thunder on January 2nd jump-started his stalling team. Since the new year, the Nets have the best record in the NBA. Analysts have made arguments over the snubs of Toronto's Kyle Lowry and Indiana's Lance Stephenson, and Johnson spoke in length about his All-Star selection.

“I don’t care,” Johnson said, according to Andy Vasquez of the Bergen Record. “I don’t care, man. It is what it is, you can say whatever you want. What’s done is done, it’s over with.”

Johnson wasn't expecting the selection. “I didn’t even get a chance to watch it. I was actually asleep and found out an hour, hour and a half later. But I’m happy man, and I’ll enjoy it. Every time I’ve been, I’ve had a great time and I’ve really enjoyed the whole weekend.”

The All-Star reserves are selected by a group of NBA coaches. "To get selected by the coaches means that much more,” Johnson said to the Record. “It kind of just shows where we’ve come from as a team, man. This is a tribute to the coaching staff, the players the whole Nets organization, because just a month ago this couldn’t have happened. So to be selected, this is definitely an honor for us as Nets.”

NorthJersey.com -- Andy Vasquez -- Joe Johnson responds to All-Star critics

 

Mike Woodson (AP)

Mike Woodson (AP)


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Good afternoon, Nets fans. Here's the best news and notes from around the 'net, following a week in London:
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Roundtable: Nets-Cavaliers

Posted on: January 4th, 2014 by Benny Nadeau Comments

 

 

Joe Cool (AP)

Joe Cool (AP)

Simply put, this may be the battle between the NBA's most disappointing teams.

The Nets lost the last time these teams played. The Nets have lost to a ton of teams. Back then, there was still hope for Cleveland, too. But, since then, the Cavaliers have lost in bunches as well. With two point guards that would like to be considered elite, they've floundered under high expectations.

Someone suggested that the Nets should make an offer for Andrew Bynum, the NBA's biggest wildcard, which quickly prompted every Brooklyn fan in the nation to write a strongly worded letter to Billy King. Elsewhere, Joe Cool saved the day (and Chris Hooker!) in Oklahoma City.

This is the second straight game the Nets have played in which their opponent is missing their superstar-- they must take advantage if they'd like to right the ship once and for all. If the Nets win tonight, they'll likely find themselves just one game out of the playoffs.

We're talking about playoffs? Playoffs?

Well, we'll hold off on playoffs for now-- The BK Game breaks down this game below!

1. We finally saw a great game out of Deron Williams, can he repeat against the Irving-less Cavaliers?

Max Weisberg: Williams could (and should) be able to repeat his performance vs. OKC against anyone in the NBA -- especially the Cavs sans Irving. The only question will be: which role will Deron Williams be in? Will Kidd use the two point guard lineup again which allows Williams to become a scorer off the ball or will he use D-Will exclusively at point guard, allowing him to become the facilitator? With Shaun Livingston on the floor this season, Deron Williams' AST% is 24.4%. With Livingston on the bench this season, Williams' AST% increases to 34.4% -- clearly two different roles for D-Will.

Ben Nadeau: My fantasy team sure hopes so. But really, Williams had one of his better games of the year against OKC-- so, I'd to think he can come close to replicating it against the lowly Cavaliers. Jack isn't really known for his defense either. Last roundtable, I gave up on Deron Williams. This roundtable, I'm not ready to jump back on the bandwagon, but he's warming me up.

Will Rausch: I doubt Deron will match the season high 29 points he had against the Thunder, but there's a good chance he plays well against the Cavs. I'd say we're looking at more the double-doubles D-Will put up when he came back from his ankle injury in December. Jarret Jack is no scrub, but he's also not a stalwart defender. And let's create and buy into the narrative that the Nets want revenge for the opening night loss to the Cavs that set them on this odyssey of maladies that has been the 2013-14 season.

2. Should the Nets try to trade for Andrew Bynum?

Max Weisberg: If Bruce Ratner becomes majority owner of the Nets again, then yes, the Nets should trade for Bynum in order to save a couple million. Otherwise: NO.

Ben Nadeau: If anybody in the Brooklyn Nets franchise believes that Andrew Bynum is the answer to this team's problems-- they are sorely mistaken.

Will Rausch: Slowly step away from the trade machine, Billy King. For better or worse, this is the Nets team we should live with for now. It's time to put a moratorium on win now and win-nower moves.

3. With Irving out, which Cleveland player will give Brooklyn the most issues?

Max Weisberg: Jarrett Jack? It always seems like those quick-trigger point guards always give the Nets (and D-Will) trouble.

Ben Nadeau: Tristan Thompson, I guess. Garnett and Blatche aren't exactly the strongest forces inside anymore. Thompson is a hard-worker and has some decent range that will likely give them fits. Or Varejao-- he hustles too much not to have success against the Nets in the paint. Really, anybody that tries really hard will likely do well.

Will Rausch: Anderson Varejao. The floppy haired Brazilian is an inherently annoying and crafty player and the last time he played at Barclays, he dropped 35 points and 18 boards. In the Cavs first game without Irving on Tuesday, Varejao had a team high 18 points and 25 boards in the Cavs OT win.

Final Predictions:

Max Weisberg: Nets 102, Cavaliers 90

Ben Nadeau: Nets 100, Cavaliers 88

Will Rausch: Nets 95, Cavaliers 90