The 2-5 Brooklyn Nets, reeling after losing another game to a team with a quick, young backcourt and a solid center, travel to Phoenix tonight to take on the Phoenix Suns, a team with a quick, young backcourt and a solid center. Uh oh.
The Suns are led by electrifying point guard Eric Bledsoe, who has flourished in his first opportunity as a full-time starter. Bledsoe was a college teammate of John Wall at Kentucky, another point guard that gave the Nets fits in this early season, and he’s cut from the same cloth: young, quick, explosive, and excellent in transition.
Through eight games, the six-foot Bledsoe has averaged 21.1 points, 7.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game, shooting 51.4% from the field and adding one game-winner:
Though the Suns sent Steve Nash away, they haven’t sent away their run-and-gun style, and nearly 20% of their possessions this year have come in transition, via mySynergySports, and score a league-leading 23.2 fast-break points per game. The Nets don’t even average half that.
Tonight marks the first game between brothers Miles and Mason Plumlee, who played together at Duke University for three seasons between 2009 and 2012. Miles, the older Plumlee, is off to a hot start in Phoenix, averaging 11.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game as the team’s starting center. Rookie Mason has cracked the Nets rotation, getting early playing time over Reggie Evans and Mirza Teletovic.
Amazing and true: Kevin Garnett enters tonight’s game having played 47,955 regular season minutes, and an additional 5,033 in the playoffs. Phoenix’s entire 13-man active roster has played 38,403 regular season minutes and 1,151 playoff minutes combined.
This also marks the return of former New Jersey Nets forward Gerald Green, who did this in a Nets uniform:
Tonight also marks a meeting of first-time head coaches and former NBA opponents Jason Kidd (who also played for Phoenix before his Nets days) and Jeff Hornacek. Hornacek’s 5-3 Suns have an edge over Kidd’s 2-5 Nets early in the season.
From the Nets: if Brook Lopez scores 26 points tonight, he’ll pass Otis Birdsong for 9th on the all-time franchise list.