Pregame 3-on-3: Nets-Magic Open Thread

After an embarrassing 36-point loss in their home opener against a legitimate playoff contender, the Nets now face a better team from the Southeast in the Orlando Magic. If only these two teams had something interesting between them.

The Nets start Deron Williams, Sundiata Gaines, Damion James, Kris Humphries, and Mehmet Okur. Williams & Gaines have had success playing together, and this is Recession Okur’s first start as a New Jersey Net. All but James are former members of the Utah Jazz.

After hearing the Nets fraternized with the enemy, it only makes sense we do the same, and to help us talk Nets-Magic is Eddy Rivera, founder and leader of Magic Basketball.

1) Is there any way the Nets can contain Dwight?

  • Chris Hooker: Could they stop Josh Smith or Al Horford? There is a reason that Dwight Howard is Billy King’s number one priority. Would King be thinking “Dwight or Bust” if the Nets frontcourt was even remotely as good as D12 is? Absolutely not. The Nets are be willing to part with their best big man to land Howard, so what would make anyone think that their second, third and fifth best big men can stop him? Humphries, Okur and Petro are going to have their hands full. There isn’t a single thing Dwight can’t do in the paint and I have a pretty good feeling that he is going to bring it against the Nets and show Billy King just how badly they want him in Brooklyn.

  • Devin Kharpertian: Nope. The only thing they can do is employ the Atlanta Hawks’ strategy that beat the Magic in last year’s playoffs — force everyone around him to chip in. But Petro has no shot, Humphries can’t check him, and Okur can’t check him. Goodbye, frontline.

  • Eddy Rivera, Magic Basketball: In a word, no. Even if Brook Lopez was healthy, the answer would still be the same. As such, Dwight Howard should have a field day against Johan Petro and whichever other big man head coach Avery Johnson decides to throw out there. It’ll be interesting to see if Johnson decides to single-cover Howard or send extra defenders at him.

2) What’s the most intriguing matchup tonight?

  • Chris Hooker: If you asked me two weeks ago, I would have said Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard, and I wouldn’t have even known what teams they would be playing for! It’s crazy how this story has taken shape and completely overshadowed tonight’s game. Hands down, the most intriguing matchup is between the beat writers of the New Jersey Nets and the beat writers of the Orlando Magic. A true battle royale Tweet war. I expect as many “D12 wants to play for the NETS?!?!” tweets as much as I expect the “Please bring Dwight to fix this mess” tweets. In all seriousness, the real story of this game will take place off the court and I am incredibly curious to see what will happen.

  • Devin Kharpertian: Both teams’ three-point shooting attack. The Nets have to start hitting some shots from outside — they’ve been awful through the first two games. Erstwhile, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick, and Ryan Anderson combined for 16-35 shooting from 3 thus far, and the rest of the team 1-15. The Magic rely on their outside shooting to supplement Dwight’s contribution, and if the Nets can’t stop it, there’s no chance they win this game.

  • Eddy Rivera: It has to be Deron Williams against Jameer Nelson at the point guard position. Williams torched the Orlando Magic in two games last season. Even though the Magic will likely beat the Nets even if Williams has another monster game, simply because of the talent disparity between both teams, Nelson needs to step up to the challenge regardless.

3) Chances the Nets end tonight with a winning record?

  • Chris Hooker: I think that this Orlando Magic team is a little better than Tuesday’s Atlanta Hawks team–and we all saw how well that went. Until the Nets can prove they can beat, or at least hang with, a competitive team for four quarters, I’m giving them a 15% chance to pull out a victory here. Maybe the extra day of rest will inspire some motivated play, or maybe some boos will anger the Hump. But as of now, the only winnable matchup I can see is Deron Williams versus Jameer Nelson–the rest just seem all Orlando. If the Nets want to have a prayer in this contest, they need to come out of the gate ready to go. If they fall behind even by ten points, the game is as good as over. If Tuesday’s performance taught us anything, it’s that the New Jersey Nets are out of sync and shooting cold.

  • Devin Kharpertian 1%. See you tomorrow.
     

     

     

  • Eddy Rivera: 10 percent. A lot has to go right for New Jersey to come away with a victory against Orlando. The Nets only have one clear-cut matchup advantage and that’s thanks to Williams. It just seems to be asking a lot from New Jersey to rely on Williams to make up for mismatches at multiple positions. Johnson can only do so much too.

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