Nets continue west-coast trip as they take on Clippers

Photo courtesy YES Network

When: 9 p.m. EST

Where: Staples Center

Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO

Listen: 101.9 FM, 660 AM

Photo courtesy YES Network

The Brooklyn Nets continue their current road trip as they head to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. After their defeat in overtime to the Kings on March 1, the Nets have slipped to 20-43 and are still yet to win an overtime game this season. On the other hand, the Clippers have slipped out of the top eight in the Western Conference despite winning seven of their last 10 games.

After their recent trade moving Blake Griffin, most expected the Clippers to fall well and truly out of the playoff race, yet they have been playing fun and competitive basketball as the Nets saw just before the All-Star break, where the Clippers beat the Nets, 114-101. 

The Brooklyn Nets will again attempt to surpass their win total from last season with a victory Sunday and then build into some form to gain something from the rest of their scheduled games. Finally healthy outside of Jeremy Lin, the Nets are mostly out of excuses and need to show more than just effort and grit. They have mishandled late-game situations, and this does not come down to just the talent on the floor, but with players understanding what the right basketball play is to help the team win games.

With Golden State waiting on Wednesday, a good showing against the Clippers is needed.

Three Things to Watch

D’Angelo Russell

D’Angelo is back and integrated into the Nets’ starting line-up, putting the knee injury behind him. While his scoring has slowly started to return to the expected numbers, the Nets are hoping to get more of the ‘ice in the veins’ D’Angelo so they can start winning close games that keep slipping through their fingers. Sunday is another opportunity for him to perform better both offensively and in taking care of the ball. 

Jahlil Okafor

After missing the past five games with the flu, Okafor is expected to return on Sunday. This does not necessarily guarantee any sort of minute allotment for the power forward, but he has a chance of finally getting his first run since the All-Star break.

Okafor is one of the biggest question marks on the Brooklyn Nets roster moving forward, so it would not be surprising for the coaching staff to at least give him an opportunity — a chance to try and contain Montrezl Harrell off the bench would be a good challenge. 

Austin Rivers

With similarities to Russell, Austin Rivers has had enough games of basketball behind him on his return from injury to start getting back into the form he was pre-injury. A more of a scoring option to Milos Teodosic, Austin may offer the Clippers an edge so they are not as reliant on Tobias Harris or Lou Williams to get buckets. Players more often than not are given options to score against the Nets, and Austin will look to take advantage.