Before we get into today's preview, I'm excited to announce a new season-long contest we have today, courtesy of B3TZ Sports: The BK Game Streak!
The game is as simple as it sounds:
1. The contest relies on a standard betting line for each game. To make your prediction, select YES or NO to agree or disagree. For example: in today's contest, if you think the Nets will win by five or more points, select "YES." If you think they'll win by four or less, or lose, select "NO." Earn a win for every correct pick. (Note: you must be logged into Facebook to play.)
2. String together wins and try to get the longest streak of correct predictions before the end of the NBA regular season. Follow game results on the leaderboard on the right sidebar.
At the end of the season, we'll award three prizes to the players with the best three streaks: The Gold Net Trophy (longest streak) and a $200 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to first place, the Silver Net Trophy (second-longest streak) and a $50 Amazon Gift Card to second place, and the Bronze Net Trophy (third-longest streak) $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Bronze Net Trophy to third place.
Read more rules for the contest here.
Good luck! Now, onto tonight's contest.
Three Things to Watch in Nets-Bucks
1) Deron Williams in midair. Deron Williams received platelet-rich plasma treatment for synovitis on both ankles before the All-Star break, sitting out the final two games. He later noted that he hasn't dunked once this year, and that his ankles are responsible. Now, after a week of rest and treatment on yet another ailment for Williams, he'll get a chance to face off against Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, two of the fastest players in basketball. For starters, let's just see how he jumps.
2) Brook Lopez on the ground. Milwaukee Bucks forward/center and blocks machine Larry Sanders is questionable with a hip/back injury, and it's not clear whether or not he'll play tonight. Sanders is far and away the league leader in blocks percentage, averaging 4.5 per 36 minutes to go along with 12.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per 36. Unless he's operating directly under the rim or trying out his rip move, Lopez's shots rarely get stuffed, as he's able to loft a hook shot or high jumper over most any defender. In the only meeting between these two players this season, Sanders was unable to block one Lopez shot, and Lopez finished with 21 points on 9-18 shooting.
3) Glass game. Even with Larry Sanders, the Bucks are one of the worst teams at controlling the defensive glass, ranking second-to-last in the NBA with a defensive rebounding percentage of 70.2% (i.e., they grab 70.2% of all available defensive rebounds). The Nets, conversely, are one of the league's best offensive rebounding teams, ranking fifth in the league in offensive rebounding percentage. The Nets have four solid offensive rebounders in Lopez, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, and Kris Humphries, and one of those players is usually on the floor at all times. Lopez is particularly adept at scoring on quick putbacks, and his personal offensive rebound rate of 10.9% is the highest of his career. If the Nets can control the glass as they should, the extra possessions should add up to more points and a better shot at victory.
One bonus thing not to watch: Josh Smith, who has been linked to both of these teams in trade speculation but has yet to play for either yet.
What do you think? Will the Nets beat the spread? Vote above and start your streak!