The Brooklyn Nets (20-44) just can’t stop losing at the moment. They gave the Los Angeles Clippers all they could handle, but they still came up just short, 123-120. The Nets have now lost three games in a row and 11 of their last 12.
All the Nets starters apart from DeMarre Carroll struggled mightily from the field. The trio of Spencer Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russel, and Allen Crabbe combined to go just 3-of-23 from the field. Hower, the bench mob of Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Dante Cunningham, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stepped up. LeVert led the way with a career-high 27 and Harris added 19 as Brooklyn got 75 points from their bench.
The Nets will be hard-pressed to end their current slump as they visit the defending champion Golden State Warriors (49-14). The Warriors extended their post-All-Star break winning streak to five games with a 114-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks. They've also won eight of their last nine games.
Stephen Curry exited early after tweaking his ankle, but still scored 28 points in 24 minutes of action. Kevin Durant picked up the slack in his absence with 28 points on a sizzling 12-of-19 shooting. Meanwhile, Nick Young added 16 points off the bench.
Three keys to the game
Warriors back home - In part due to Curry’s exit and in part to a bit of complacency, the Warriors didn’t exactly give their full effort to beat the Hawks as they finally ended a recent three-game Eastern road trip. But they’ll be back home, where they’ve won eight of their last nine games, with three full days of rest ahead of their battle with Brooklyn. That nice layoff should help get them re-energized for the Nets game.
Brooklyn bench - The Nets got some outstanding production from their reserves against the Clippers to make up for the starters’ off nights. But while the Nets should expect the likes of Russell and Crabbe to bounce back, they still need their bench to give them that similar boost on the road against the Warriors.
3-point shooting - The Nets very nearly got the better of the Clippers on the road, and they did it because they got hot from the outside. They sank 19-of-45 from beyond the arc, which is a 42 percent clip. They also knocked down 16 3s when they gave Golden State a good fight in Brooklyn earlier in the year. They’ll need to continue hitting from the outside if they hope to remain competitive against the champs.
Matchup to watch
D’Angelo Russell vs Klay Thompson - Russell missed the first meeting against Golden State due to injury and will be eager to bounce back from his poor performance against LA. However, he faces a significant challenge on both ends of the court against Klay Thompson, who had 23 points and ten rebounds against the Nets and is always capable of shutting down opponents with his exceptional defense.
Nets projected starting lineup
PG – Spencer Dinwiddie | SG – D’Angelo Russell | SF – Allen Crabbe | PF – DeMarre Carroll | C - Jarrett Allen
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG – Stephen Curry | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green | C – Zaza Pachulia
Allen Crabbe can be pretty streaky, but when he’s on, he’s capable of going off for 20-plus points. That’s exactly what he did against Golden State as he went for 25 points on 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc with seven rebounds. Meanwhile, DeMarre Carroll will also be a solid wing to consider. Carroll is averaging an impressive 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds on 58 percent shooting over his last four games and had a decent 15-point, 11-rebound double-double against the Warriors.
As for Golden State, Curry and Durant will be the obvious picks to consider. Curry went off for 39 points, 11 boards, seven assists, and three steals against the Nets to make up for Durant’s absence. However, KD is back for this contest and has been absolutely locked in lately. He’s been averaging well over 27 points and shooting 61 percent from the floor for a solid month now.
The Warriors are favored by a massive 14.5 points in this game, which seems absurdly high. Although, they have won four of their last five home games by over 15 points, so it's not that inconceivable that they blow out a Brooklyn team way short on confidence. The Warriors might just be able to cover, but if you feel more confident taking all those points, no one will blame you.
The Warriors add to the Nets' misery as they run away with a 122-103 win.
This game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area and YES Network. Tip-off is at 10:30 pm Eastern.