Time: 7:30 PM EST
Location: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports Go
Listen: WFAN 660 AM/101.9 FM
The Brooklyn Nets find themselves in the midst of yet another exhausting losing streak after a heartbreaking 108-99 loss versus the Miami Heat on Friday night. The loss marked 12 in a row for the Nets, which is now the longest losing streak in the Brooklyn era. The game started off on a positive note with a hot start from Brook Lopez to get the offense going. The Nets held a double-digit lead in the middle of the 3rd quarter, but then the Nets happened. Silly turnovers led to easy transition buckets, players holding the ball for way too long, and limited ball movement, what else is new?. The trio of James Johnson, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Johnson capitalized on the self-combusting Nets as they combined for 65 points and pushed their team to a 13th straight victory.
Kenny Atkinson’s bunch will look to rebound tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies, who have won 6 out of their last 8 games and are looking to make a serious run for the fourth seed in the top-heavy Western Conference. First-year head coach David Fizadale has done a great job of mixing in new schemes and incorporating a different type of play style, while still maintaining the grit-and-grind identity that’s made them such a prominent force in the conference throughout the years. The Grizzlies are fresh off a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night and will look to snag a win here to avoid a downward spiral in the standings.
The Nets, on the other hand, have been close to putting together a complete 48-minute performance recently, but they usually find new and interesting ways to collapse in the latter stages of games. Their youth and lack of a true playmaker led them to make silly mistakes down the stretch. At some point, the young guys will learn from their mistakes and the veterans will remember how to close games out.
Here’s to hoping the Nets can put together their first complete game since their absolute dismemberment of the New Orleans Pelicans way back when.
3 Things to Watch for in Nets-Grizzlies:
1. Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez shootout
The NBA has evolved within the past few years and bigs are no longer asked to just rebound and get easy buckets down low. Now they’re asked to stretch the floor to keep rim protectors away from the paint, thus giving guards and wings more space to create inside. No big men have adapted faster to these changes than Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez. Prior to this year, the two seven-footers combined for 15 made three-pointers in their NBA career — this season alone, they’ve combined for 160 of them. Those numbers are surreal and who wouldn’t enjoy a few heat check moments in this game?
2. Trevor Booker leading the 2nd unit
Trevor Booker has seen a slight uptick in his numbers after his recent move to the bench. He’s had three double-doubles in his last 4 games and over 10 rebounds in all of them. Booker has been asked to start most of this year, but he’s been coming off the bench for the majority of his NBA career — the familiarity has suited him well. His veteran presence and rabid energy can help a second unit comprised of young players such as Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead among others.
3. JaMychal Green
Sean Marks and the front office have spoken at length about their desire to add talent in unconventional ways, JaMychal Green is a prime example of what they have in mind. He bounced around the D-League and overseas before signing with the Grizzlies in 2015 and developing into a valuable member of a really good team. Green dropped his career-high in points this past week against the Minnesota Timberwolves with 29 and completely embarrassed Karl-Anthony Towns in the low post. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to being matched up with a much smaller Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.