Brooklyn Nets centers, Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche, both sprained their ankles against the Orlando Magic on Sunday and missed practice on Monday, the Nets announced via Twitter on Monday. Both players are considered probable for Tuesday’s game against the Utah Jazz.
Blatche also said it was sore, but that he was trying to prepare for Tuesday. “I’m not feeling bad. I’ve just got an ankle sprain, pretty sore today. I’m going to come in tonight, get some more treatment on it so I can get prepared for it tomorrow.”
Lopez has been the Nets best player, at least offensively, so far this season and losing him, even for a game, would hurt. He’s averaged 22.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per 36 minutes with a 52.5 effective field goal percentage in his first three games. Blatche has been struggling big time and has been limited to just 6.6 points and 4.2 turnovers per 36 minutes with an effective field goal percentage of just 25.0 percent.
If one or both of them have to miss Tuesday’s game it’s likely that the Nets would slide Kevin Garnett over to the five and start Reggie Evans at the four. That would force them to use Mirza Teletovic in a larger role and, if both players are out, even Tornike Shengelia if his knee is up for it.
• Deron Williams is still not 100 percent. He’s played in every game, but has been limited to just 25.3 minutes per game (he played an average of 36.4 minutes per game last season). He explained to reporters on Sunday that he doesn’t have the same explosiveness that he had last season since he missed most of the preseason and he’s still working his way back.
“This is like his preseason, his training camp,” Kidd said. “So again, I think he’s been out there doing a very good job for us with not as much time as everyone else has had on the court.”
• Blatche told reporters that Kevin Garnett was pretty upset with how the Nets played and was not afraid to let his new teammates know. “He was upset, all the way from the bus to the plane, he was really upset, so we just gave him his space so he can cool off. He said his piece and we all took it in.”
• Magic guard, rookie Victor Oladipo, tore apart the Nets’ defense on Sunday. A big reason he was successful, D-Williams explained afterward, was the success of the high pick-and-roll and Paul Pierce did a good job explaining it.
“It’s just that we got to do a better job of keeping the ball out of the middle, containing the ball, talking a little bit better, knowing which direction the pick is coming from,” Paul Pierce told reporters on Sunday. “It’s a combination of things. And then when you have those breakdowns, the ball gets into the middle, it breaks down our defense because now you’re asking for the bigs to step up and help and the wings to sink in and it opens up the 3-point shots. And then when the 3-point shots are falling, it opens up the drop-down on the baseline to the bigs for dunks and layups. It starts right there at the top.”
• The Magic are not even expected to contend for a championship, but they still had their way with the Nets on Sunday. Expectations weren’t way off, but the Magic did bring a great intensity with them to the court and simply out-played the Nets.
“I said on the bench to (Joe Johnson) … ‘Joe, you know what? This is going to be a tough season,’” Blatche told reporters. “Every time we hit that floor it’s going to be tough, because guys are going to come out there and bring their ‘A’ game, because of our team, because of who we are and what we represent and what we’re trying to achieve.
“Guys are going to come at us every game. We’ve got the bull’s-eye, and we can’t come out there with that type of energy. We came out there, after beating Miami [Friday], I guess we were feeling ourselves too much, so we came out there too relaxed. That’s not us. We’ve got to come out there aggressive every game and with a lot of energy.”