The Brooklyn Nets scored 130 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday so let’s hope they’ve saved some of their points for their tilt against Washington. Tonight’s contest has the zippy-quick John Wall going against a Brooklyn Nets team that has looked entirely new since Deron Williams’ return to the lineup.
Coming into the season, both Brooklyn and Washington had high expectations but have sputtered out of the gate. Combine two elite guards with the poor state of the Eastern Conference and anything could happen.
Does Joe Cool have any burn left? Can John Wall be contained? And, of course, the most important question of them all: How Blatche-y will Andray Blatche be while Blatche’ing against his old Blatching grounds?
All those answers and more from The Brooklyn Game crew below.
1. Can Deron Williams stop John Wall?
Will Rausch: Stop is a strong word. Wall is lightning fast and Deron is recovering from injuries that shall not be named. Deron’s Voldemort ankles aside, D-Will has held Wall to a .369 shooting percentage in seven career matchups, well below the Wizards star point guard’s career average of .422. Even in the Wizards November 8th OT win over the Nets, a game in which Wall dished out 14 assists to go with 17 points, the Kentucky product only shot 4-14 from the floor.
Wall is also coming off a game against the Knicks in which he gave up a season high seven turnovers. Turnovers can be a deceptive stat for people that handle the ball as much as Wall and D-Will only averages half a steal a game, but Wall’s recent propensity for giveaways might help in the Nets quest for five wins in six games. All of this is to say that while D-Will probably won’t “stop” Wall, he might slow him down enough for the Nets to win.
Ben Nadeau: Coming off of an ankle injury, I certainly didn’t think Deron Williams would play as well as he did against Chris Paul last week. That being said, John Wall is a completely different animal. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wall ended up with a highlight reel steal and slam dunk tonight. Hopefully Deron Williams stays on his toes all night or John Wall will blow by him time and time again. So, the bottom line is this: You can’t really stop John Wall, but it’s certainly possible to contain him. If they can do that, then the Nets should win this game.
2. What does Brooklyn have to do to win this game?
Will Rausch: Make sure Jason Kidd uses his timeouts in the final minute, or, at least, that he has enough soda on the sideline. An opportunity to troll the Knicks and kick them while they are down will always trump basketball analysis in my book because James Dolan.
Ben Nadeau: Well, aside from containing John Wall, there’s the issue of Bradley Beal. The second-year shooting guard returned from a stress reaction on Monday to hit the game-winning layup against the mess that is currently the New York Knicks. Beal can score in bunches from every part of the court, so Alan Anderson should have his hands full tonight. If they can keep Beal from getting uncontested shots in the paint with less than two seconds left in the game, Brooklyn will win.
3. Will Andray Blatche go off against his old team?
Will Rausch: Sure, but not because of some vendetta against the team that gave up on him. The good Blatche has outweighed the bad Blatche recently and the enigmatic big man has three straight 20 point games. Then again, that might mean Blatche is do for a game of questionable effort, ill-advised shots and errant behind the back passes. I’m going to stick to yes before I talk myself out of it.
Ben Nadeau: *refuses to make a bad pun* *refuses to make a bad pun* Ahem, well, whether or not you believe Andray Blatche will bring it against his old team seems to be rather irrelevant right now. With all the hoopla surrounding injuries and Joe Cool, many have missed that Blatche has scored 20 points in his last three games. Mr. Unreliable has suddenly made a case for the Most Reliable on a team that has seen many of their key members miss multiple games. Blatche might walk with a little more swagger tonight, but his game has been extremely solid either way.
Will Rausch: Nets 101, Wizards 99
Ben Nadeau: Nets 97, Wizards 91