When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network/FOX Sports GO
Listen: 101.9 FM, 660 AM
The Brooklyn Nets have not caught a break in recent weeks. It seems like every game plays out in the same way – the deficit, the comeback, then coming up short. Credit to the Nets for fighting back and not giving up hope, but at some point, there has to be a switch in their mentality to maintain that level of fight throughout four quarters.
After a tough double-overtime loss to the Pelicans on Feb. 10, the Nets will face off against the Blake Griffin-less Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 12. Since the blockbuster trade, the Clippers have gone 4-1 and are fighting to earn a playoff spot. They have enjoyed more depth with the additions of Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley to go along with the return of Danilo Gallinari.
With the added depth and big minutes the Nets starters played against the Pelicans, players at the end of Brooklyn’s rotation might see some minutes in this one. Isaiah Whitehead, Milton Doyle and Timofey Mozgov may get chances to keep the ship moving without exhausting too much energy from the starters.
Brooklyn has especially gotten a huge boost from Allen Crabbe in the last two games, averaging 31 points per game and starting to find his form right before the All-Star break. If the Nets play the way they did in the second half of the Pelicans matchup for this game, Brooklyn can steal a win.
Three things to watch
Tyrone Wallace has suffered the most since the Griffin trade. He was an under-the-radar player who was having a productive rookie season and looked to be a steal.
His minutes have dwindled since the addition of Avery Bradley and the return of Austin Rivers, but after a blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Doc Rivers might look to Wallace to give a different look to the rotation. He played 15 minutes in his last game, but it is a possibility that number might climb up to at least 20.
One player who has not been seeing 20-plus minutes per night is Montrezl Harrell, but he has looked productive in the minutes he has had.
He has looked aggressive and created shots for himself instead of being fed, which has been vital for the bench unit, averaging 14 points and 5.9 rebounds in the last 12 games in just 20 minutes of action. There is always the possibility that he can cause a headache for the Nets bigs in this game.
D’Angelo Russell has looked healthier as time has progressed since his return. He is still making mistakes, but other than that, Atkinson might start to give him more minutes down the stretch if Russell continues to earn them.
If the Nets can get a big second half of the season from D-Lo, it would be imperative for the development of this team. It can possibly attract free agents’ attention as well as motivate his teammates. It is all about baby steps for him now, though, as he still searches for consistency.