The Brooklyn Nets are 3-8 after a wholly unenthusiastic loss against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. The franchise point guard went down with another ankle injury, and Brooklyn is near the Eastern Conference cellar. Tonight, they take on the 7-6 Minnesota Timberwolves.
Yet, somehow, the Nets only find themselves 1.5 games out of the division lead, which guarantees at least the 4th seed in the playoffs. Quickly, Brooklyn has approached the point of the season in which fans vehemently called for former coach Avery Johnson’s head last year.
Out in Minnesota, things have started very different for the team that hasn’t been good since Kevin Garnett left in 2007. Kevin Love looks like an MVP candidate, and Kevin Martin has been an incredible sidekick. For once, the Timberwolves have stayed healthy and look like a playoff team in a stacked Western Conference.
If the Nets are to pull off the *upset* tonight, they’ll have to do so without the help of Deron Williams (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back), Jason Terry (knee) and Brook Lopez (ankle).
With Kevin Garnett looking older by the day, he’s likely to struggle against Kevin Love on defense. However, the key may be Shaun Livingston containing Ricky Rubio. Averaging 8.8 assists per game, the playmaking Rubio could demolish a Brooklyn team that is in shambles defensively. If Livingston’s long arms can smother Rubio’s playmaking just a little, the Nets may have a chance.
The Nets have a roster full of Hall of Famers, All-Stars and Champions, but stand a slight chance of a winning a game against a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2003.
Yeah, that’s where Brooklyn’s at right now.
Projected Starting Lineup: Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche.
When & Where: 8:00 P.M. EST, Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Watch: YES Network
Listen: CBS WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM