The Brooklyn Nets play the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight. Here's what you need to know:
TV: The game is being simulcast on the YES Network and NBATV. Ian Eagle and Greg Anthony are tonight's commentators. Anthony is making his YES debut.
Starters: So much for the standard five. It only took one game. The Nets will start Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez, Bogans replacing the injured Gerald Wallace. The Timberwolves are expected to start Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, and Nikola Pekovic.
Key reserves: The fearsome foursome: C.J. Watson, MarShon Brooks, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche, anchored by starting shooting guard Joe Johnson playing small forward. The Timberwolves played their every member of their ten-man rotation at least 15 minutes, and will likely continue to lean on their bench with their depleted lineup.
Russian Roulette: Mikhail Prokhorov is in the building tonight, as is Alexey Shved. Prokhorov ran into Kirilenko before the game and said hello. That was that.
Injury Report: The Brooklyn Nets are without both small forwards tonight: starter Gerald Wallace is nursing a left ankle, and Josh Childress is still out with his injured ankle. Keith Bogans will be limited, though he will start. The Timberwolves are without their two best players, starting power forward Kevin Love and starting point guard Ricky Rubio.
Season standings: The Brooklyn Nets are 1-0 after defeating the Toronto Raptors 107-100, and thus on pace to be 82-0. The Minnesota Timberwolves are 1-1, having lost their most recent game to those same Toronto Raptors 105-86.
The Brooklyn Nets will win if... they understand that they're far superior to this depleted Timberwolves team, play to their strengths, avoid Nikola Pekovic or get him in foul trouble, and let Deron Williams and Joe Johnson go to town on Luke Ridnour and Brandon Roy.
The Brooklyn Nets will lose if... 2009 Brandon Roy shows up. If Nikola Pekovic makes an Andray Blatche sandwich between slices of Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries. If Luke Ridnour suddenly is no longer Luke Ridnour. If Derrick Williams can score the way a #2 overall pick should. And if, without Gerald Wallace, Andrei Kirilenko does absolutely everything in the way that only guys like Kirilenko and Wallace can.
In NBA 2K13:Nets win, 119-100. Even without Gerald Wallace, the Nets won all four quarters and took down a depleted Timberwolves roster. The Nets were led by Deron Williams, who finished with 28 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Joe Johnson chipped in a 24-5-5 on 10-14 shooting, Brook Lopez finished with 14 points and 8 boards, and C.J. Watson & Andray Blatche both added 12 off the bench. Chase Budinger led the Wolves with 20 points. The Nets destroyed the Wolves 54-33 on the boards and shot 53% from the field en route to the romp.
2K13 Nets record: 2-0
2K13 prediction record: 1-0
Enjoy the game!