Time: 6 p.m. EST
Location: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports Go
Listen: WFAN 101.9 FM
The Brooklyn Nets could not have looked worse Friday night against the New York Knicks. The free-flowing motion offense the Nets have formed their identity around this season became a shell of itself, as the team produced a season-low 86 points on 40 percent shooting.
Kristaps Porzingis was the high man for the Knicks, dropping a smooth 30 points on 13-24 shooting and making life difficult on the Nets’ much smaller frontcourt options. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a tough time guarding the unicorn and only saw 17 minutes of game action due to the size differential.
The Knicks ended up out-rebounding the Nets 55-34, proving they were the more physical team and ended up with the W. Late in the game came the first sighting of Tyler Zeller, and he didn’t look half bad. He looked comfortable on the court even though the game was well decided by then. We’ll see if that late stretch of action can land him some extra minutes going into the next game.
The Nets will look to maintain their perfect record at home against a Denver Nuggets team that is still trying to find some consistency early on in the season. The tandem of Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic have gotten off to a rocky start.
The Nuggets were a popular dark horse candidate to make a surprising run in the playoffs heading into the season, and they still can. The Atlanta Hawks were at their best when Millsap and Al Horford were the main facilitators on drive and kicks and dump off passes. Nikola Jokic is one of the best passing big men we have in the NBA, so naturally, this can be a dangerous duo that will keep defenses on its heels with the threat of creating plays for others.
While they’ve struggled early on, the Nuggets are coming off a win against the Atlanta Hawks, so they will look to keep the momentum going Sunday night.
Three Things to Watch For
The Nets have had a decent start to the 2017-18 season; they’re currently 3-3 with three wins at home and three losses on the road. The Nets need to figure out how to win games away from home, but if they can make it known that they can defend their homecourt early on in the season, that will go a long way.
Teams that have a reputation of playing well at home can get fans more involved and can give the team an identity, and the Nets have done a good job of that so far. The Nets want Barclays Center to be a toxic environment for opposing teams, and it is yet to be seen if that will continue to be true tonight.
How this young team handles bouncing back from a tough loss
A main quality that separates successful teams from unsuccessful ones is resilience. More successful teams have a short-term memory when it comes to losing, and if the Nets want to be successful, they need to prove they can avoid getting rattled after a tough loss. It is never fun to lose to your crosstown rivals by 21 points, but no team can avoid having a bad night. It’ll be interesting to see if the young guys can show their toughness on Sunday and how they respond against a solid opponent.
Will we see more Zeller?
The Nets were simply being bullied Friday night in the paint. The size of Willy Hernangomez and Porzingis proved to be too much to handle for this Nets team.
The Nuggets’ two best players both play in the frontcourt. Late in Friday’s contest, Kenny Atkinson played Jarett Allen and Zeller at the same time to ensure they wouldn’t get outrebounded. Although Paul Millsap is a good matchup with Hollis-Jefferson, if he gets hot early there could be a possibility we can see more of Zeller.