Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Clippers: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/4/18

The badly slumping Nets will be desperate to pick up a win when they face a Clippers team that’s still fighting for a playoff spot.

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The Brooklyn Nets (20-43) may not have any incentive to tank this season, but they’re doing so anyway. They fell to the equally awful Sacramento Kings, 116-111, which is their tenth defeat in their last 11 games.

DeMarre Carroll led the team with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with ten rebounds, while rookie Jarrett Allen had a strong double-double of 15 points and 13 boards. The starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Allen Crabbe combined for 35 points on 11-of-23 from beyond the arc but were just 1-of-9 from 2-point range.

The Nets now pay a visit to the Los Angeles Clippers (33-28), who recovered from their defeat to the Houston Rockets by absolutely blowing out the New York Knicks at home, 128-105.

Big man DeAndre Jordan led the charge with a monstrous 19-point, 20-rebound performance. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers had 21 and 19 points, respectively, while Montrezl Harrell got to play in garbage time and racked up 19 points in just 16 minutes.

Three keys to the game

Dominant DeAndre Jordan – Jordan was absolutely beastly against the Knicks as he nearly put up a 20-20 game in under 30 minutes. Jordan had a similar level of dominance the last time he faced the Nets as he hit them for 16 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Clips to a 114-101 road win. Jordan’s dominance in the paint should be the strong foundation upon which the Clippers build their success against Brooklyn.

Nets’ outside shooting – Brooklyn don’t have an answer for Jordan – or most big men in the league, for that matter – in the paint. That’s why they desperately need to hit their outside shots to remain competitive. That didn’t happen the last time they faced the Clippers as they went a mere 12-of-40 from beyond the arc. If they can knock down a few more of those attempts, they should be able to make it a more interesting contest this time around.

Clippers’ resilience – LA have lost two starters in Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley since the last time they faced the Nets, but they’ve hardly missed a beat. The likes of CJ Williams, Tyrone Wallace, Montrezl Harrell, and even Boban Marjanovic have stepped up when needed to fill in the gaps left by those two. It’s that balanced, equal-opportunity mentality which has been a hallmark of success for most of this season and should benefit them against a Brooklyn team which strives for the same mindset.

Matchup to watch

D’Angelo Russell vs Lou Williams –  Russell has gotten back to his best lately and has finally provided some much-need scoring for the Nets.  However, his defense remains an issue, which makes him susceptible to the scoring prowess of Lou Williams. The Clippers sixth man had a modest 20 points in their first matchup but is capable of delivering so much more if needed.

Nets projected starting lineup

PG – Spencer Dinwiddie | SG -D’Angelo Russell | SF – Allen Crabbe | PF – DeMarre Carroll | C – Jarrett Allen

Clippers projected starting lineup

PG – Milos Teodosic | SG – Austin Rivers | SF – CJ Williams | PF – Tobias Harris | C – DeAndre Jordan

Fantasy tip

D’Angelo Russell is delivering fine fantasy games with much more consistency lately. He’s averaging 17 points, seven assists, and four rebounds over his last seven games. However, don’t sleep on DeMarre Carroll. The versatile forward has quietly been putting up 15.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists over his last nine games.

As for the Clippers, Jordan is the standout name to consider for fantasy. But Austin Rivers should also be right there in consideration along with Lou Williams at the guard position. Rivers has had five games of 16 or more points in his last nine games, one of which was against the Nets. He’s also good for around four to five assists and a steal to round out his fantasy value.

Betting tip

The Nets aren’t one of the many teams that are lying down too easily for the sake of racking up the losses. Since they have no incentive to tank, they are still trying to win. While that hasn’t led to many wins, they have at least remained competitive for some of their games. So despite getting beaten by 13 at Brooklyn a couple weeks ago, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see them be more competitive this time around and cover an eight-point spread against the Clippers.

Prediction

The Clippers hand the Nets yet another defeat as they get the 115-108 home win.

TV info

This game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket and YES Network. Tip-off is at 9:00 pm Eastern.

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