Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO
Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM
The Nets need a boost of confidence.
The Brooklyn Nets’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday marked their third straight defeat and second straight double-digit loss. The 109-97 score did not accurately describe how the game went down, as the Nets were competitive for most of it.
Sunday was one of those nights where the Nets missed Trevor Booker, as the team needed a spark plug on both sides of the floor. Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were struggling for most of the game from the floor as they combined for 14 points on 3-of-16 shooting. Those two guys are who the Nets depend on to initiate the offense, so when they’re not productive they need someone else to step up and take charge. No one did.
Before this three-game stretch, the Nets were winning games because they had three players controlling the tempo. Dinwiddie kept defenses honest with penetration, the threat of a jump shot, and he was finding open guys without turning the ball over. Hollis-Jefferson constantly got to the line and opened up lanes to the basket. Additionally, Caris LeVert combined what both of those guys were bringing to the table and brought it to the second unit.
The trio had something good going, but now they look fatigued, and no one else has stepped up to the plate to give these guys a spark. Maybe playing a team in the Sacramento Kings that stands at the bottom half of the standings, along with coming off two full days of rest, can help Brooklyn get back into the groove of things.
The Kings are in a position much like the Nets – they have a plethora of young talent, mixed with a few veterans trying to see progress and gain momentum heading into next season. Expect the game to be a competitive and high-scoring contest.
Three things to watch for
Zach Randolph was starting to show signs of regression, but now he is starting to play like the grit-and-grind type of style he showed in Memphis for so many years. He is going to give the Nets frontcourt headaches with his ability to stretch the floor and bully his way into easy buckets.
Milton Doyle has shown in the G-League that he deserves a fair shot in the NBA. His averages of 21 points, six rebounds and four assists per game landed him a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday morning after Yakuba Ouattara’s two-way contract was waived.
It will be interesting to see if Kenny Atkinson will try to give Doyle some minutes in this game with the Kings. Jahlil Okafor has barely gotten playing time since he joined the team, but he is trying to learn the offense and be in a position to succeed when he sees a heavier workload.
As for Doyle, the Long Island Nets run a system very similar to their parent club, so Nets fans must wait and see whether he sees time in his first game as a two-way Brooklyn Net.
Wednesday’s appearance against the Nets may be one of the last for Vince Carter’s career. While the Nets did not quite live up to expectations when Carter was on the team, he was one of the most entertaining players to play for the franchise.
Scintillating shooting and unreal dunks on a nightly basis were some of the things that drew Nets fans in nationwide, including me. Therefore, Carter is always a player to watch when he comes to Brooklyn.