The Brooklyn Nets played a surprisingly competitive game against the Clippers on Saturday night without four of its starters and Andrei Kirilenko, and they’re going to have to do practically the same thing against the Trail Blazers on Monday.
As surprising as Saturday’s game was, they are going to have to do better against the Trail Blazers or otherwise risk digging themselves even deeper in this early season funk. The chemistry will come, but it will take time, and like Mason Plumlee said, there is no reason they can’t still be a winning team even as they continue to gel.
The Trail Blazers (8-2) are going to be tough competition for them too as they are practically opposites of the Nets (3-6) right now. The Blazers were expected to be a young team that struggled while the Nets obviously had championship aspirations. One team is playing great ball and the other is the Nets.
The key for the Blazers, who have won six straight, has been LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge has averaged 21.5 points with 9.0 rebounds per 36 minutes with an effective field goal percentage of 48.1. Damian Lillard is also having a strong sophomore season and has averaged 19.5 points, 5.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds per 36 minutes with an eFG% of 48.8.
MIGHTY MASE: Mason Plumlee is one reserve player that has really benefitted from the injuries as he played 26 minutes on Saturday night and scored 19 points with six rebounds. He was already stealing playing time from Reggie Evans and with this extra time he can really make a case for being a regular part of the rotation.
AA BATTERIES: Alan Anderson has bounced around the league, and the world, but seems to have finally established himself here with the Nets. He played 32 minutes and scored 15 points on Saturday. On the season, he has averaged 11.9 points with 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per 36 minutes with an eFG of 50.0 percent.
THE HOBOKEN KID: Tyshawn Taylor finally got a chance to play some real minutes on Saturday and showed that he’s not a complete liability. In 15 minutes, he scored 13 points with four assists and three steals. If he can repeat that performance while is D-Will out perhaps Jason Kidd will start trusting him with regular minutes.
TOKO IN ACTION: Tornike Shengelia even got into the game on Saturday, his first of the season, but wasn’t nearly as impressive as Taylor. Toko didn’t score any points, had no rebounds and one assist in eight minutes. He hasn’t played so you have to cut him some slack, but that’s not how you make an impression.
NO-SHOT TELETOVIC: Mirza Teletovic is another player finally getting a chance with all of the injuries, but like Shengelia he has not been impressive. He has averaged just 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per 36 minutes with a terrible eFG% of 15.0. He has not made more than one shot in any game this year despite attempting 20 shots in 39 minutes.