When: 6 p.m. EST
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network
The Nets have a better record than the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets in 2018. But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The new year, new Nets have taken the new calendar year as a fresh start, and have looked motivated to take the next step in their development. In addition, they’re turning heads in the process.
The Minnesota Timberwolves entered Wednesday’s contest with confidence, winning seven of their last eight games and starting to find chemistry on the offensive side of the ball. The Nets, on the other hand, were coming off of a wire-to-wire win over the Orlando Magic, and they took what they learned in that game and executed late against a good Timberwolves team.
Brooklyn will be put to the test once again versus one of the NBA’s elite teams, the Boston Celtics. They are a familiar opponent at this point, this being the third meeting between the two opponents this season with the most recent coming one week ago in a Brooklyn loss on New Year’s Eve. The familiarity can be used to Brooklyn’s advantage, whether it be understanding Brad Stevens’ schemes on both sides of the ball or tendencies from Boston Celtics player.
Perhaps the Nets can take these things to be more prepared this time around.
Three things to watch for
The Celtics are currently on a five-game winning streak, and third-year guard Terry Rozier has been a big contributor in their recent success.
Rozier has been able to defend opposing guards since his days at Louisville, but he has shown growth offensively. In this four-game stretch, he has averaged 15.5 points on 58 percent shooting from the field and 46.4 percent from three. He is starting to use his athleticism on offense in attacking the rim and cleaning up the glass, which frees him up for better looks at the perimeter.
Now when Kyrie Irving needs a breather, the Celtics have a guy to keep the defense honest.
Spencer Dinwiddie flat-out won the game against the Timberwolves for the Brooklyn Nets. Not only did he put his team over the top with a clutch floater in the dying moments of the contest, but he put together one of his better performances of the season. He tied his career-high with 26 points and came up big against one of the league’s better defenses.
With back-up play-maker Caris LeVert out of the game due to a groin injury, the Nets were relying on Dinwiddie to create for others and provide a scoring threat. With LeVert doubtful to play against the Celtics with a left groin strain, the Nets will perhaps look to Dinwiddie to lead once again.
The Barclays Center is not known as one of the loudest arenas in basketball, but the Nets are starting to feel the support of their fans and are responding with wins. Yes, a three-game home winning streak is not out of the ordinary for some teams, but when one considers this was a 20-win team one year ago, the impact is there.
With 14 of their next 24 games occurring at home, the Nets can try and take advantage as they currently sit four games out of the playoffs.