The Brooklyn Nets are back at the Barclays Center on Thursday night as they host former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and his Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets finally started their first winning streak of the season when they beat the Boston Celtics on Tuesday and will try to push that to a three-game winning streak against the Clippers.
These are not the forgotten-Clippers either as they are loaded with talent these days and currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a 15-8 record.
The Nets have already lost to the Clippers this season, 110-103 back on Nov. 16, but that was with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez all on the bench with various injuries. The Nets still had a good showing that night thanks to Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee led the team with 19 points and Tyshawn Taylor had a big showing as well with 13 points and four assists in 15 minutes.
All of those players that missed the last game are back for this one though. They looked solid as a unit on Tuesday against the Celtics as they played as well as they have since the second game of the season when they beat the Miami Heat. So the question Thursday night is — can the Nets replicate what they did against the Heat over a month ago and against the Celtics on Tuesday? Another question — can the starters match the intensity that the reserves showed against the Clippers last month?
The big matchup will be D-Will against Chris Paul. D-Will looked as healthy as he has all season on Tuesday and hopefully that wasn’t just a one-off and can maintain his health in his chronically-injured ankles. If he can, and he can outplay the talented Paul, the Nets should have a chance for their first three-game winning streak of the year.
ALL-STAR BALLOTS: The first batch of All-Star ballot results was released this week and the Brooklyn Nets aren’t doing well so far, as expected. Kevin Garnett is their leading vote getter as he sits in sixth place among front court players in the East. Brook Lopez is 14th (which is sad because he’s been dominant this year when he’s been healthy).
KING RESPONDS TO REASSIGNMENT: Nets general manager Billy King finally responded to the Lawrence Frank “reassignment” this week, “Knowing the indisde, we did what we had to do.” I suppose by that he means that the Nets needed to do something and firing Jason Kidd himself would have been a PR nightmare so they used Frank as the sacrificial lamb. Kidd probably won’t be on the chopping block, if he ever gets there, until after the team is healthy and plays together for a while.
SPEAKING OF FRANK: L-Frank has not been sitting on the bench or going to practice and instead has been limited to writing reports based on how the Nets play during games. Jason Kidd wouldn’t elaborate on what their relationship is like right now, but said, “I’ve been reading the reports (he is filing) and that’s aws far as it’s going.” Cold blooded.
DOING WORK: With Deron Williams out for a large chunk of this season Tyshawn Taylor has benefitted the most from that and is starting to look like a solid backup point guard option. The second year player credited coaches with his improved play. “My coaches have been great working with me. Coach Kidd has also helped me just talking to me and pointing things out that I don’t see on the court,” he said.