Brooklyn Basics: On Clippers-Nets

Brook Lopez, Festus Ezeli, Brooklyn Nets
(AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Brook Lopez, Festus Ezeli, Brooklyn Nets
(AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Chat it up in tonight’s game thread!

The Brooklyn Nets (6-4) face the Los Angeles Clippers (8-3) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn tonight. Here’s some nuggets of info to help you navigate.

Remember: you can grade the players at any time.

The Who/What/Where/When: The Brooklyn Nets take on the Los Angeles Clippers tonight (Friday, November 23rd), at Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 7:30 P.M. The Clippers are on the third game of a four-game road trip, and had been on a six-game winning streak before losing in overtime to the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night.

TV/Radio: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on YES Network. Ian Eagle has the call. The game will be called on the radio on WFAN, and in Spanish on WADO.

Starters: CRASH RE-BACK! Gerald Wallace is allegedly done with his “rest” days, and will start tonight in what’s hopefully the first of a string of consecutive starts. He’ll play with the Nets standard five, next to Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. The Clippers will presumably start point god Chris Paul, the blob known as Willie Green, Caron Butler, the human YouTube clip Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan.

Key reserves: As mentioned Wednesday: the Nets have given significant minutes to three players — Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, and C.J. Watson — and everyone else’s spot seems to fluctuate on a nightly basis. MarShon Brooks is still figuring out his spot in the rotation, but he’s scoring so well off the bench (22.2 points per 36 minutes with a true shooting percentage of .680), I imagine he’s got to see a more consistent uptick soon. The Clippers have ridden the hot hand of Jamal Crawford early on — he’s played the third-most minutes on the team and is shooting .483-.439-.926. Matt Barnes and Eric Bledsoe round out the wings — Bledsoe in particular is havoc defined. Ryan Hollins and Lamar Odom round out their rotation.

Key Advanced Statistics:
Brooklyn Nets: Offensive rating 108.6 (6th), Defensive rating 105.7 (21st), 88.6 possessions per game (30th)
Los Angeles Clippers: Offensive rating 108.7 (5th), Defensive rating 100.7 (5th), 93.3 possessions per game (8th)

Four Factors:
Brooklyn Nets Offense (league rank): eFG% .493 (10th), TOV% 13.1 (7th), ORB% 29.5 (8th), FT/FGA .224 (10th)
Los Angeles Clippers Offense (league rank): eFG% .525 (4th), TOV% 15.6 (29th), ORB% 27.3 (17th), FT/FGA .245 (5th)
Brooklyn Nets Defense (league rank): eFG% .499 (25th), TOV% 13.4 (20th), DRB% 71.7 (20th), FT/FGA .186 (6th)
Los Angeles Clippers Defense (league rank): eFG% .467 (4th), TOV% 16.3 (2nd), DRB% 70.7 (27th), FT/FGA .255 (28th)

Matchup of Exceptional Intrigue, Part I: As recent as two years ago, the point guard battle was a two-man race: the New Orleans Hornets had Chris Paul (the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft), and the Utah Jazz had Deron Williams (the third overall pick in the same draft). Now, both players don different unis, the talent at the PG position has exploded, and only Paul has kept his stellar reputation fully intact. Still, Williams vs. Paul is always good for a good matchup, and while Paul has the statistical advantage, Williams’ teams have won 13 of their 17 head-to-head matchups.

Pace: The Nets face their third straight speedy team tonight — the Clippers, like the Lakers and Warriors, rank in the top 10 in the league in possessions per game. Despite facing these blazers, the Nets have not been shaken from their “slowest team in the league” standing, turtling in at just 88.6 possessions per game. This indicates that the Nets drag the pace of the game more than the teams they face speed it up. In the same vein, keep an eye on the transition game tonight: the Clippers have far better athletes, and if they can turn this game into a metaphorical track meet, they’ll have a big advantage.

Matchup of Exceptional Intrigue, Part II: Kris Humphries is basically Blake Griffin with 10% of the natural talent. They’re always good for a good head-to-head. Just trust me on this one.

Fan Test: This is a Friday night game, a marquee matchup, against a team that doesn’t have many fans in this region, far enough from Hurricane Sandy time-wise that people are mostly back to normal in this area. This game should be a Brooklyn Nets sellout, and a loud one.

Matchup of Exceptional Intrigue, Part III: Another fun thing to watch tonight: Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan represent two stark play contrasts; the long, athletic Jordan has only recently begun finding a post game, and the long, lumbering Lopez has only recently began understanding NBA-level defensive concepts. Lopez tends to struggle against centers of Jordan’s caliber and play style, but he has played well against Jordan specifically.

Fearza Extinguished: Mirza Teletovic is inactive tonight for the first time this season.

Matchup of Exceptional Intrigue, Part IV: For those many Nets fans calling for Avery Johnson’s head these past few days: view this game from the perspective of a Clippers fan and see how you feel about Vinny Del Negro.

Season standings: The Brooklyn Nets are 6-4 after dropping Wednesday night’s contest, second in the Atlantic Division and 2 games behind the Manhattan/New York Knicks for first place. At 8-3, the Los Angeles Clippers lead the Pacific Division.

In 2K13: Nets lose, 115-112. A close matchup ends in heartbreak as Chris Paul hits a 3 with 3.9 seconds left to give the Clippers the victory. Deron Williams put up a tough look as time expired (sound familiar?) but couldn’t knock it down. Williams led the team with 26 points, but shot just 10-26 from the field and 2-11 from 3. Chris Paul had a picture-perfect virtual game, with 31 points, 15 assists, four steals, and even a block. Blake Griffin had six dunks and 21 points.
NBA 2K13 Record: 8-3
2K13 as predictor: 6-4

Should be a fun one. Go Nets!