Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets head to Dallas to face the Mavericks. The Nets enter the game with a 39-28 record, and in screaming distance of the Atlantic Division title. With Boston taking a fall against Miami, and the New York Knicks in a tailspin, the Brooklyn Nets seem like one of the key teams to jump over and claim the division. This past offseason, Deron Williams flirted with Dallas before re-signing with Brooklyn, so it’ll be interesting to see if Dallas brings out the boo birds for this one.
Let’s look at some key numbers when you look at both teams. Let’s look at their major advanced numbers.
- Pace: Brooklyn 15th, Dallas 19th
- Efficiency Field Goal Percentage: Brooklyn 22nd, Dallas 12th
- Free Throw Rate: Brooklyn 7th, Dallas 22nd
- Turnover Rate: Brooklyn 6th, Dallas 23rd
- Offensive Rebound Rate: Brooklyn 5th, Dallas 28th
Brooklyn- Andray Blatche will be key in this game. The Nets have seen some of Blatche’s best performances, but they also seen some of his worst. It’s time to see if Blatche can repeat his performance against Dallas.
Dallas- Vince Carter. Vince Carter has quietly been great this season, and when O.J. Mayo and Shawn Marion hit the bench, Dallas will need Vince’s scoring prowess. Throughout his career, Vince has found the ability to dominate his former clubs, so it will be interesting to see if he can do it again.
Deron Williams vs. Darren Collison- Since the All-Star break, Deron Williams has been spectacular. Not only has he found his way to getting to the basket (and free-throw line) more, but he’s also finding open teammates for jumpers. Darren Collison will breakdown Williams on the defensive end. I believe Collison will defend will against Williams, but overall, Williams should be able to have a successful matchup this season. Advantage: Williams
Joe Johnson vs. O.J. Mayo- Joe Johnson is a great talent, but I think O.J. Mayo will get this one. First, Johnson is battling a foot injury that can only get better by rest (plantar fasciitis), and that will effect his speed and effectiveness. This season, O.J. Mayo has found his way to come off of screens and hit plenty of open jumpers all season. I think Johnson’s lack of speed will catch up to him here, and Mayo will capitalize. Advantage: Mayo
Gerald Wallace vs. Shawn Marion- Again, another matchup where Gerald Wallace looks at someone who does things similar to him on the court. I lean Marion, and will forever lean any player against Gerald Wallace for one reason: Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo hasn’t figured out lineups to put Wallace at the power forward position, and thus giving him more space to work. Wallace should have a good game, he’ll do the things that you need (rebound, block shots, contest on defense), but on offense? Shawn Marion by a mile. Advantage: Marion
Reggie Evans vs. Dirk Nowitzki- Gimme Dirk. Reggie Evans will contest Dirk on the boards, but Dirk will get somewhere between 18-25 points. Advantage: Nowtizki
Brook Lopez vs. Chris Kaman- Let me say this: Brook Lopez should have a fantastic game. Lopez has the ability to put the ball in the basket in the post, and over the last ten games, he’s been great at doing just that. In a matchup against Chris Kaman, I have no doubts Lopez will dominate, but once Dallas throws Elton Brand and Brandan Wright out against Lopez, I figure that should bother Lopez a bit, allowing Dallas to slow him down a bit. Advantage: Lopez
Prediction: Brooklyn 108, Dallas 95. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have strong games, and Reggie Evans gets enough points to tilt the advantage to the Nets.