The Soundtrack To A Mini-Road Trip: Brooklyn Nets-Style
After blowing The Process, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers to tiny pieces on Sunday night to improve to 4-6, the Brooklyn Nets are off on the road for a four-game jaunt that promises to be an early test for this youthful team. While the Nets have offered us plenty of surprises thus far, they’re certainly room to improve — but with some talented teams on the horizon, it may prove tough.
You should cancel any road trip that doesn’t have a playlist that slaps, so, to that end, we’re looking at each upcoming opponent and soundtracking it all with a few tasty and relevant tunes.
Phoenix Suns (2-7) — 11/6
The Nets’ recent history in Phoenix has been (mostly) always sunny. They haven’t lost on the road there since November 2014, which also stands their only loss to the Suns on their floor in the Brooklyn era.
Granted, the Suns have been focused on the lottery for much of that time, but it’s starting to pay off for them finally. Devin Booker got paid this offseason and has continued his deluge of buckets on the rest of the league.
Having won the draft lottery in that very same offseason, the Suns took hometown hero Deandre Ayton out of Arizona with the No. 1 overall pick. Though this 7-foot-1 brick wall masquerading as a human being hasn’t put together the same gaudy highlight reels that ignite the Rookie of the Year debate ablaze like draft-mates Luka Doncic and Trae Young have — Ayton has been mightly impressive in his own right. The center has had a great start to his career and figures to get extra time now that Tyson Chandler recently used the escape hatch on the crumbling Phoenix tank.
Probability Of Winning -– 70%
This might be the most winnable game of the trip and would give the boys in black momentum heading into a weekend of horrors. If they want to do that, they’re going to have to keep forcing turnovers — matching the 28 they forced against the Sixers would be a nifty start — and knocking down their three-pointers. The Suns’ current point guard rotation is Isaiah Canaan and Shaq Harrison, so look for Russell, LeVert, Dinwiddie, and Napier to go at them hard.
The Sweetest Memory:
The night Joe Jesus descended from the heavens into Phoenix to deliver a buzzer-beating game winner in overtime.
Fleetwood Mac — Dreams
Possibly the greatest Phoenician songwriter in history, here’s Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and her finest ever output.
Denver Nuggets (8-1) –- 11/9
Fortunately, the Nets are going to have three days of rest before this mammoth task. The Nuggets have had a remarkable start to the season and are sitting at No. 2 in the Western Conference.
This early success is quite obviously for no other reason than because the Nets own Denver’s upcoming first-rounder. (Past previously-middling teams who have experienced a renaissance and a surge up the standings after handing their picks to the Nets include the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors.) If the season ended today, the Nets would get the No. 28 pick from the Nuggets, when most expected them to be around the 6-8 spot on the ladder.
Nikola Jokic, who is basically if an Uruk-Hai and an Ent did the fusion dance and ended up with elite passing ability, figures to give a thin Nets frontcourt night terrors. Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis will have to replicate their solid defensive efforts against Embiid in this one to stand any chance. On top of that, the Nuggets dynamic backcourt duo of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris are looking better than ever and perennial-Nets-murderer Paul Millsap somehow refuses to age.
Kenneth Faried would have some extra motivation in this one playing against his former team, but he’s been nailed to the bench all season. Perhaps now would be as good a time as any to unleash the Manimal though.
Probability Of Winning -– 45%
I’m not sold on the Nuggets as a contender yet, and the Nets have played them pretty well in the past despite dropping their last three to them. DeMarre Carroll has been upgraded from out indefinitely to ‘doubtful’ for the Suns game, might he be good to go and match up with former Hawks teammate Millsap? Probably not. Knowing the Nets’ luck this will actually be the Mason Plumlee revenge game and he’ll slap his first career triple-double on us.
The Sweetest Memory:
Horrible quality, but the only evidence I could find of Brook Lopez breaking hearts in Denver. I miss you, Big Disney.
Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way
Imagine flying in over the Rocky Mountains and listening to the legendary Eagles guitarist’s electrifying tribute to them.
Golden State Warriors (9-1) –- 11/10
No. No. Please, God, no.
There’s never a good time to face the reigning champs but in Oracle Arena the night after facing the No. 2 team in the West?
The Nets are so dead.
I mean, I really want to give the Nets a puncher’s chance here, especially after their spirited-but-heartbreakingly-futile effort against the Warriors in their lone visit to Brooklyn this season. The Nets, like many teams, often struggle on the second half of back-to-backs though and the Warriors are the Warriors: a man-made affront to the basketball gods. We know what they can do, we’ve suffered at their hands for years.
Probability Of Winning: Just no.
Brooklyn hasn’t beaten Golden State since 2015 and not in Oakland since they were still the New Jersey Nets. Yeesh. Fun fact: that game saw Gerald Wallace post a 24-point, 18-rebound game and Deron Williams notched 20 assists. Simpler times, I suppose.
If the Nets pull this off, I will get the face of whoever leads Brooklyn in scoring tattooed over my own face.
The Sweetest Memory:
So, this was the last time the Nets won in Golden State. This broke a seven-year drought there. Ultimately, the franchise has won in Golden State once in the last 13 years. They’re so, so dead. But peep the 19-point comeback finished off emphatically by Gerald Green in his rebirth season with the Nets here.
The Notorious B.I.G. – Going Back To Cali
With the Nets releasing their Biggie and Coogi sweater-inspired City alternate uniforms this season, this total belter about the West Coast from the East Coast’s King is an obvious choice.
Minnesota Timberwolves (4-6) -– 11/12
Imagine being foretold at the end of last season that Brooklyn would have the same record as the Timberwolves through the first ten games… they burned people at the stake for less. Currently locked in a deathmatch with the Lakers for the ‘Most Dysfunctional Franchise’ belt, the Timberwolves’ 2018-19 campaign has been a trainwreck, for lack of a better word.
Jimmy Butler still wants out, sitting out several games recently (allegedly without ailment) and earning the esteemed rank of General Soreness on NBA Twitter. It’s a wonder the Wolves have won this many games with their entire season on fire around them. A 50-point career night for Derrick Rose in Butler’s absence last week gave fans something to cheer about. But beyond that, it’s been a depressing step backward for a fanbase who have endured as much pain as any.
Butler sitting out would give the Nets a huge advantage, but the Wolves still have Karl Anthony-Towns, who has frequently snapped the Nets in half, and Andrew Wiggins, who is averaging the lowest points per game in his career since his rookie year at 17.3, but who can still catch fire at any moment. A newly-energized Rose may give the Nets troubles as well if he gets back from an ankle injury in time.
The Nets should look to guard the ball with their lives here as ‘Sota is third in the league this season for forcing opponent turnovers. On the other hand, they’re a bottom-three defensive team and giving up 117 points a game. They’re perhaps even worse than the Nets on the boards so Davis should feast like a king. The last game on the road trip though, the Nets legs might be a little worse for wear here as they look to their own beds on the near horizon.
Probability Of Winning: 55%
The Nets would have an even greater chance if Butler sits, but even if he does this will be a tough game to get up for at the end of a big road trip. Hopefully, the good guys aren’t sent home with their tails between their legs.
The Sweetest Memory:
[Editor’s Note: There was some entry about Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries in here from 2011, but I’m going over James’ head with the correct answer.]
Anthony Morrow, you sweet prince. 42 points, eight three-pointers, and a devastatingly-close loss. Pretty much sounds like the Nets’ M.O. through those dark days, huh?
Bonus Mem: Kenny Atkinson having absolutely none of it in Minnesota last season and getting tossed.
Prince – When Doves Cry
Aside from the Nets’ City Edition jerseys, the Wolves might have the slickest of the crop. Inspired by late Minnesotan (and Timberwolves fan) Prince and his seminal Purple Rain album, we’ll be hoping to know what it sounds like when Wolves cry.
And there you have it! Mini-previews and the soundtrack to bust out when you’re either happy or sad or just generally confused. As mentioned earlier, it’d be a fantastic result for the Nets to finish at 2-2 on the trip — but will they exceed expectations, or slump back toward the norm? Get those night owl reading glasses on a prep for some late evenings, Nets fans!