Before I get to the game preview tonight, I just wanted to talk about something real quick. Things are starting to get chippy again in the comments again. I know that this is a tough season and it is wearing everyone's patience pretty thin, but you guys still need to be respectful to each other. Just do me a favor and check out the commenting constitution one more time. Thanks.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about tonight's game. Portland is coming off a tough loss Sunday night against the Jazz where they held a pretty big fourth quarter lead and gave it away, allowing the Utah Jazz to send the game into overtime, where the Jazz won. There is no question in my mind that Portland is going to come out like gangbusters tonight. If New Jersey can whether the first burst, I think they can hang with them for the duration of the game. If they get down double-digits early, this isn't going to go well. Onto the lineups...
Devin Harris vs. Andre Miller
With Steve Blake now in L.A. playing for the Clippers, Andre Miller and Jared Bayless have been getting the majority of time at the point. Miller isn't going to blow by anyone at this point in his career, and he struggles with the outside jumper, but the one thing Miller does well is playing with his back to the basket. I see Miller posting (or at least trying to) Devin up a lot tonight. On the other end, Devin needs to use his quickness to get into the lane and make plays.
Advantage: Devin Harris
Courtney Lee vs. Brandon Roy
Brandon Roy is Portland's go to guy. Late in the game, if the ball is in his hands, Portland is usually in a good spot. So the goal of the Nets' defense tonight is to keep the ball out of Roy's hands. I think that this can be done. Courtney Lee is a very hard worker and a real good defender, so if the Nets decide to deny Roy, they could have a chance at shutting him down.
Advantage: Brandon Roy
Trenton Hassell vs. Martell Webster
It's funny, the day Mark decides to talk about CDR and why everyone continues to discuss him, Hayes is going to be out and CDR is being talked about everyone again. According to Dave D, Trenton Hassell is starting, but CDR is going to be in the rotation:
Vandeweghe said Trenton Hassel will start at small forward in Hayes' absence. Chris Douglas-Roberts, who did not get off the bench in Sunday's game, will not start but be in the playing rotation tonight, Vandeweghe said. The coach said CDR's DNP Sunday was the result of "an internal matter,'' though CDR had a puzzled look on his face when asked about this "internal matter.''
Advantage: Martell Webster
Yi vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge is a very talented and athletic big, and the exact type of player that gives Yi a ton a trouble. Aldridge doesn't really work out of the post, but that doesn't really effect his productivity. On the other hand, Yi had a decent game last night, but I expect him to struggle tonight.
Advantage: LaMarcus Aldridge
Brook Lopez vs. Marcus Camby
Brook Lopez had a tremendous game last time out, but it was actually a bit of a disappointment if you watched the game. Brook had 22 points in the first half, and only finished with 26. There has been a lot of talk about who is at fault for the lack of touches Brook gets. I have heard Brook needs to demand the ball more, Devin needs to force it into him, and Kiki needs to call more plays for him. Those are all valid arguments, but in my opinion it is the lack of shooting on this team that really hurts him. Late in games, you see teams playing zone against the Nets or doubling Brook right on the catch, because nobody else on the court scares opposing teams. Look at the games where the Nets shot well from the outside, and I guarantee you will see Brook have good numbers in that game.