Opponent: Golden State Warriors
Time: 7:30PM EST
Location: Barclays Center
Listen: WFAN 101.9 FM, 660AM
So this is, objectively, The Brooklyn Game’s preview for the game between the Nets and Golden State Warriors tonight — but what is it, really? What are we? What separates us and the machines? Does this basketball game matter at all?
Perhaps I’ve been watching too much of HBO’s Westworld (and now, consequently, too much of Netflix’s The OA), but such a looming showdown has made it easy to slip into a nihilistic rage. The Nets were taken out to pasture by the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, as expected, and the Eastern Conference dark horses controlled the game from start to finish.
For those that are still uncharacteristically optimistic, they might point to Brook Lopez’s planned absence as reasoning to the loss, but might that likely just prolonged the inevitable? It was, of course, Lopez that scored 18 points and snagged 9 rebounds against the then-defending champions last November before missing an absolute sitter for the win at the buzzer.
In that game’s overtime, the Nets would score just two points, and in the rematch a month later, would get walloped by 16. Since then, the Nets waived Joe Johnson, traded Thaddeus Young, and fired Billy King and Lionel Hollins. On the flip side, the Warriors swapped Harrison Barnes for Kevin Durant because life just never wants to stop being unfair.
But it’s time to stop living in the past! You know what they say, right? Any given Sunday! To that, I’d quietly remind you that the Warriors are on pace for one of the most prolific offenses in the league history, that it’s Thursday not Sunday, and also just plain basketball — no pigskin here.
Either way, if you’re still tuning into tonight’s game, you’re probably well-versed with the circumstances, or you’re ahead of most and onto the acceptance portion of the five stages of grief.
(Denial: “Bojan said they’re making the playoffs this year — I could buy it.”
Anger: “What?! They cut Yogi Ferrell?!”
Bargaining: “What could we get for Bojan Bogdanovic?”
Depression: “Why do I keep hate-watching all these games? It’s like being stuck in a worse version of Groundhog Day”
Acceptance: “OK, just keep the Celtics from getting a top three pick and I’m cool.”)
So, there are no statistics in this preview as they likely won’t matter in the slightest, there’s no reasoning or making a case for a potential Nets’ victory here. If, for some remarkable and out-of-this-world reason, the Nets come away with a win tonight, it will be from a divine source. I want to be clear, it’s not because the Nets are an *exceptionally* bad basketball team (we’ve all seen worse — hi, 12-70!), but the Warriors are a goddamn fire-spitting Cerberus and the Nets are but just minor characters from Fraggle Rock.
Oh, and they’ve got the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow, too — happy holidays!
3 Things to Watch for in Nets-Warriors:
1. Enjoy that first quarter!
For whatever reason, the Nets seem to keep things close in the first twelve minutes before the wheels come tumbling off the tricycle. Don’t grab an extra beer, go to the bathroom, or consider Luis Scola’s opportunities against Draymond Green because you’ll have plenty of time for that from 8PM onwards.
2. Enjoy the incredible YES Network team!
It’s a blessing, truly, to have such a funny, informative, talented broadcast as the backdrop the these, over the years, increasingly futile Nets. There’s nothing like being distracted from a 20-point loss by Sarah Kustok’s dismay at losing a round of “Who Am I?” With the Splash Brothers in town, as well as former fan-favorite Shaun Livingston, the joke-cracking could be at an all-time high potential.
This holiday season, savor the little things.
3. RHJ Back?
After struggling for the last month or so, there were finally some positive signs of life from the second-year small forward. He’s still not shooting it particularly well, but he got aggressive against the Raptors (in garbage time) and came away with one of the highest point totals of his career.
Perhaps now, then, it’s a suitable time to revert the rotation back to the status quo. Break up the bad defending/good scoring duo of Sean Kilpatrick and Bojan Bogdanovic and get Hollis-Jefferson back with Lin and Lopez. Not only would it give the bench some of their scoring punch back, but the thought of having Kilpatrick and Bogdanovic take turns on Klay Thompson, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant in the next 24 hours is terrifying.