Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets will play the second game of a back-to-back in California when they face the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. The Nets (6-3) are coming off a tough loss to the L.A. Lakers, although they played pretty well in that game. The Warriors (6-5) last played on Monday when they defeated Dallas in overtime on the road.
Let’s first look at Golden State. This team has been up-and-down this year, but they have won 3 of their last 4 games. They have a good young core with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes. This team’s goal this year will be a return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 team which famously knocked off Dallas in the first round. In fact, that playoff appearance was the only for the franchise since 1994. I believe that this team is still a few years away from a return to the postseason.
The Brooklyn Nets are coming off of a tough loss to the Lakers in a game where they did not play badly. One player to watch in this game will be Deron Williams. The last time he played in this arena, he had a season high for the NBA season with 20 assists despite having very few good players around him, and the Nets had a come-from-behind win.
After tonight, the Nets will return home and face the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Injuries: The Nets are still completely healthy and haven’t had any bad injuries in the last two games. Let’s see how much longer they will be able to keep that up for (fingers crossed). Golden State will be without their very injury prone center, Andrew Bogut. They have also lost Brandon Rush for the season when he got a bad injury in the first game of the year.
Deron Williams vs. Stephen Curry. Advantage: Williams
Curry has played very well this year, although his shooting numbers are way down from what they have been the past two seasons. The biggest problem for him has been injuries. If he can stay healthy, he is a very good offensive player. Williams had a double-double lsat night, though he continues struggling with his shot, especially in the second half of games. I expect both player to play well tonight on offense.
Joe Johnson vs. Klay Thompson. Advantage: Johnson
Klay Thompson was a great shooter last year and looked like he was on his way to being a very good player in this league. This year, he is only shooting 30% from 3, which is not good because that is the only reason he is in the NBA. He is not a good defender or passer. In his last game against Dallas, he shot 2-14 from the field. Hopefully he will have another game like that tonight. Joe Johnson has not had a good year but he is a much more complete player than Thompson.
Gerald Wallace vs. Harrison Barnes. Advantage: Wallace
Harrison Barnes has had a pretty good start to his young career. In his last game, he scored a career high 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Although Wallace has not put up good offensive numbers this year, he is a veteran and will not let Barnes take advantage of him.
Kris Humphries vs. David Lee. Advantage: Lee
Lee is averaging a double-double this year. He has been effective on both offense and on the glass, but he is not a great defensive player. I have a feeling he will have a big game tonight, maybe 25 points and 15 rebounds. I think Humphries will struggle.
Brook Lopez vs. Festus Ezeli. Advantage: Lopez
Ezeli has been forced into the starters role with Andrew Bogut out. Lopez should be salivating at this matchup. He will be going up against a rookie who he clearly has a big advantage against. I hope to see Lopez score 25+ points tonight and maybe get a double-double with rebounds.
Prediction: Nets 102, Warriors 99.
I think the Nets will be able to squeak by Golden State tonight and go 2-1 on the California road trip. There won’t be much defense played in this game and Brooklyn will be in a good mood when they fly back to New York.