The losses for the Nets are beginning to pile up. Nine of their last ten, including seven straight.
Now at 8-22 the Nets are going to need a tremendous effort to knock off the Pacers, a team who has already beaten the Nets twice this year. Our injuries still persist and our small forward depth is still non-existent.
Devin, Chris and I take a look at what the Nets need to do in order to snap this losing streak and beat the Pacers.
1. How much zone will the Nets play? Will it be effective?
- Justin DeFeo: The Pacers are vastly superior at the wing positions with Paul George and Danny Granger. It was revealed today that the Nets are BAD at small forward. Given those facts, the Nets must play zone to match up with those two, so I expect to see it a lot. Will it be effective is a different question. It’s one thing to slap a zone on a road team in a “hockey arena” like the Nets did to the Grizzlies last night, but I’d expect the Pacers to shoot better at home and be more prepared for it.
- Chris Hooker: Whatever they can do to protect that perimeter. The Pacers took 21 and 11 threes respectively the last two times they played New Jersey. If zone will spread the defense out a little more and stop some of those threes from going in, works for me. The Pacers shot 62% from behind the arc in the first meeting, but only 33% in the second. Something worked there.
- Devin Kharpertian: Given how well it worked in some spurts last night, I’d assume we’ll see a fair amount of it. The Nets don’t have any legitimate small forwards to guard the likes of Danny Granger, and so they’ll rely on the zone to keep him from penetrating. As for effectiveness, it’ll depend on where the Nets leave holes; the zone by design is made to force the other team into shooting jumpers, and the Pacers as a whole are poor from 16-23 feet but above average from deep.
2. Offensively, what do the Nets need to do to win?
- Justin DeFeo: I don’t think Avery Johnson and Co. need to re-invent the wheel or anything to generate offense. Making shots and taking care of the ball would be a start. Deron Williams can generate plenty of open shots that need to be knocked down, but the turnovers need to be limited.
- Chris Hooker: . Keep up the pace. Against Memphis yesterday, a big reason they took the L was because the Grizz hung in there and managed to halt D-Will’s energy from the first half. Keep on attacking and don’t let up. The Pacers are a tough team.
- Devin Kharpertian: To quote Avery Johnson, “put the ball in the basket.” I thought their offense against Memphis looked more crisp than in recent weeks, DeShawn Stevenson’s decision to hoist contested three-pointers notwithstanding. As long as nobody but Deron takes tough shots (and Deron limits his own), the Nets should compete tonight.
3. And the winner is…
- Justin DeFeo: I’m going to pick the Pacers. Things will remain bleak for the Nets until some of their players in suits start lacing up.
- Chris Hooker:Won’t fool myself into picking the upset twice in a row. Pacers here because the Nets can’t get a rhythm and haven’t proven they are competitive just yet. Indy has already won this match up twice and I don’t see why they won’t win it again.
- Devin Kharpertian: The Nets, provided Shelden Williams hurls his body recklessly at Roy Hibbert and they force the Pacers into shooting a plethora of midrange jumpers. Besides, the slide has to end sometime… right?