Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The Nets head to the Rose Garden tonight for their second game of a back to back as well as their second game in a series of three games over a span of four days. Here are a few keys to the game against the Trail Blazers:

  • Make LaMarcus Aldridge a Perimeter Player: For most of his career, LaMarcus Aldridge has been short-changing himself of his full array of talent by refusing to work on the low block and get shots around the basket area. Instead, he elects mostly to work the high post, settling for relatively ineffective jumpers. Over the last few weeks, however, he has tried to shake that trend, working in the post with much more regularity. Accordingly, the Nets need to look to force him to stay away from the basket. If they can deny him a few times in the post, he will likely head back to his comfort zone and work the perimeter for the game. With Brandon Roy out, double-teaming Aldridge is that much less risky, so it’s a strategy the Nets might go to out of the gate.
  • Go to Brook Lopez: While Brook Lopez’s offensive explosion against the Lakers last night was probably due in large part to wanting to get back at Avery Johnson for benching him in overtime against the Suns Wednesday, he showed that he can be the offensive leader of the Nets if he has the ball in his hands. Lopez will likely see many minutes matched up with Marcus Camby, an accomplished post defender, but Brook had no problem abusing one-on-one defense from either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol against the Lakers. The Camby Man shouldn’t be a major hindrance to his production.
  • Pick Up the Pace: The Trail Blazers are coming off a game last night, so the Nets should look to pick up the pace to exploit their fatigue. Yes, the Nets also played last night, but Portland is an older team with players like Camby and Andre Miller, so the grind is likely to have more wear and tear on them. Expect Avery Johnson’s lungs to get a more significant workload than usual, screaming at Devin Harris and Jordan Farmar to get the ball up the floor.

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