The Brooklyn Nets got a much needed win against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, but it came with a cost as Deron Williams and Brook Lopez both left the game early with ankle injuries. Neither are expected to be serious, but they are bad enough to keep them out Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers in the third game of a three-game West Coast trip.
To make matters worse, the Nets will also be without Paul Pierce tonight as he is dealing with a sore groin that he hurt in the second half of last night’s game. There is also a chance that Kevin Garnett could miss Saturday’s game as well as he is considered a game-time-decision with a sore ankle that he suffered when he collided with Lopez.
That is the recipe for disaster. It’s one thing to win a game without D-Will, but if four, or even just three, starters are out then that’s a pretty big hill to climb against a talented team like the Clippers.
As a precaution, the Nets announced Saturday that they have recalled Tornike Shengelia from the NBA D-League where he has been working out with the team. Toko has been shuttled to the D-League and back three full times by now. Their season doesn’t actually start until Nov. 22nd, they’ve been in training camp, and he hasn’t played with the Nets yet either so he hasn’t played anywhere at all this season.
With so many players out, tonight could be Shengelia’s night to finally get into a basketball game this season. They’ve already had to dig deep as Mirza Teletovic played in the first half on Friday night and Tyshawn Taylor even got into the game. Both players are likely to play again tonight and it seems likely Shengelia could as well. Even if Garnett does play, he played yesterday and with today being a back-to-back game, he’s likely to have his minutes limited.
REUNION WITH DOC: Well Paul Pierce isn’t playing and KG might not either so it’s not exactly the reunion some might have hoped for, but Doc Rivers will face three of the players he coached while in Boston for the first time since they all left (Jason Terry is the other).
“It’s going to be weird looking over to the sideline and not taking instruction from him,” Pierce said of Rivers after Friday’s game before it was revealed that he will sit out Saturday. “He probably knows all of our strengths and weaknesses.”
KG, who will likely play some minutes tonight, sounded excited to be reunited with his former coach. “Absolutely. It’s going to be good to see my old people over there, good to see Doc,” he said.