The Nets travel to Charlotte looking to gain momentum | Tech US News

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In the game preview before Friday night’s win in Washington, I wrote that Kyrie Irving, and these Nets in general, have given fans genuine moments of joy over the past few seasons. I touched on Irving’s individual greatness, but that’s not all:

  • “Beating Boston in a playoff series” is the best line there is
  • There’s the now-legendary 2021 West Coast Tour, the pinnacle of Harden-led networks
  • One of the greatest playoff comebacks in Nets history, in Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks

And that’s what hurts the most about this ongoing organizational implosion: the fleeting moments of joy have stayed with us all. No matter how far away championship-level success feels right now, there are worse places to be than to have Kevin Durant on your team.

In reality, most of those points are much worse. An organizational retool, no matter how necessary or inevitable you think it is right now, is willingly letting go 80% of the way up the mountain, because you know the last 20% will kill you in your current condition. Remembering the truly joyous moments that came with rooting for this Nets team makes letting go of that rope even harder.

Friday’s game against Washington was another one of those moments, its unexpectedness only made it more enjoyable. Sure, the Wizards are as forgettable as yesterday’s news, but Brooklyn didn’t seem in a position to blow the doors off any NBA opponents. And it wasn’t just that it was the biggest road win (third overall) in franchise history, it’s how they did it.

The score was 58-57 after Brooklyn allowed Washington to rally again toward the end of a solid first half. Were they really going to miss 22 solid minutes of basketball? All signs pointed to yes. Instead, he finished the game on a 70-29 run, which can’t really be called a run considering it went on for more than half the game. I just don’t know how else to describe it.

Durant became a liar after telling us all to get used to his turnovers, rather finishing with 11 assists and just two TOs. He also had the highlight of the new Brooklyn season so far:

If you end up falling like Peter Griffin down his ladder, it’s not really an ankle breaker, it’s homicide.

Elsewhere, Nic Claxton went 9-10 from the field (and is now shooting an NBA-best 72.9% 2.0). Edmund Sumner continued his incessant bombardment to the rim with great efficiency, and Cam Thomas was released, with 17 points and six dimes. Brooklyn shot 50% from deep. Yuta Watanabe looks better than I, a sincere supporter, could have expected.

I don’t know where the hell that came from, and I don’t know if it’s enough to save Brooklyn’s season. But I sure wouldn’t mind watching it again. Fortunately, my next chance comes Saturday night when the Nets visit Charlotte to play the Hornets in a matchup of teams on the second night of a back-to-back.

Where to follow the game

The broadcast will be on the YES Network and the YES app, and WFAN-FM has the radio call for Brooklyn. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

injuries

Kyrie Irving: Still suspended. Ben Simmons: Still in New York with a knee problem. TJ Warren: Still in rehab. Seth Curry: Still waiting! He is expected to play for the first time since Oct. 29 and only the second time all season. It didn’t go well for the younger Curry brother in his season debut, looking relatively sluggish and unable to hit the floor with a bowling ball. Still, it should provide a lift for a Brooklyn team coming off a game the night before.

For Charlotte, the main reason to watch her team has yet to play this season. LaMelo Ball remains out with a back injury, although coach Steve Clifford recently stated that a return could be coming soon. Meanwhile, Cody Martin (quad), Terry Rozier (ankle) and Gordon Hayward (shoulder) missed the Hornets’ Friday game against Memphis, and with no update on their status for Saturday, it’s safe to assume they all are questionable for now.

the game

The Charlotte Hornets were absolutely bombed by Memphis on Friday night, 130-99. Like the Nets, they sit at 3-6 with injuries to key pieces already piling up. They have the 26th attack and the 16th defense in the league, a special one from Steve Clifford. Sure, the talent may be lacking, but they’re not going to be totally embarrassed on defense.

Still, without LaMelo Ball, the Hornets aren’t very competitive and are a lot less fun. They are certainly worse when the often-missing Gordon Hayward is missing. In fact, Charlotte has a winning record in the last three seasons when they play.

However, these early season injuries may be pushing the Hornets down an ultimately fruitful path that leads to a chance to grab Victor Wembanyama or another top prospect in this supposedly strong draft class.

However, such is the state of the Charlotte ball team right now that only nine games into the season is on the mind. oh well With LaMelo Ball out, an imagined future is the most exciting thing about the franchise right now.

Still, the Hornets won’t get over themselves, especially after being embarrassed on home soil less than 24 hours before Saturday’s tip-off. No, this probably isn’t a good team without injuries, and the doctor’s report only makes things bleaker. But they do play Clifford hard, with an average defense and a ball-sharing offense (8th in assist rate), and not *always* the other team (19th in turnover rate).

If Brooklyn really wants its first winning streak of the season, it will take this opponent more seriously than the Indiana Pacers did.

Also tonight, expect Clifford, who was a coaching consultant for the Nets under Steve Nash, to field questions about Nash’s death.

Player to watch

PJ Washington. The numbers are nothing short of amazing this year as he is averaging just 15 points on 41% from the floor and 34% from deep. But the Kentucky product, in his fourth NBA season, is hurt by Ball’s absence more than any other Hornet. At 6’7”, he is bigger than a wing, as his offense comes from nibbling and popping or rolling. He can also attack an occasional close when positioned on the perimeter. Essentially, it’s hard for Washington to create from a dead stop, but it’s capable against a defense that’s already in rotation.

His name is always in trade speculation because of his age, the fact that he will be a restricted free agent next season, and because he is a big man (though not that big) who can shoot (37% for his career , from deep). I’m sure you’ve even heard his name from fellow Nets fans.

But I always enjoy watching him play because I see him as the barometer of the talent this league has. Of course, his breakout hasn’t happened yet, but he ended last season at age 23. There is the athleticism, versatility and shooting, to varying degrees, in his game that we all want from players his size. He even had 42 points in one game last year.

And absolutely no one cares. Seriously, I’ve never heard his name mentioned when it comes to promising young players! Sure, it’s inconsistent, but when has one player’s inconsistency ever stopped an army of social media accounts using that player’s likeness from popping up. And I don’t buy it because it’s in Charlotte. I think the NBA is so flooded with talent, especially young talent, that there are some victims who miss the hype. Not that Washington is the next Dominique Wilkins. It’s just that he’s young and talented, and there’s never been any hype around him.

All that said, he’ll either score four points on Saturday or torch the Nets 31-12 in a win.

From the Vault

Another moment of the 2018-19 season, which none of us will ever escape. Maybe I can’t resist the nostalgia and feelings that came with that year. Regardless, this was a thriller of a game. I’ve attached the full highlights, but skip ahead to relive the two overtimes, ending with a game-winning steal and layup by Joe Harris.

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