Brooklyn Nets vs. Phoenix Suns Pre-Game Report

Feb 25, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) has his shot blocked by Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler (4) during the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Nets won 116-106. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets head out west for a four game swing that starts off in warm and dry Phoenix against the Suns. Brooklyn sits at 3-5 after their Wednesday night loss and the Suns are not any better sitting at 3-6.

The Brooklyn Nets are looking for their first road win of the season as they head to the desert to give Eric Bledsoe and company a visit. Both teams have high-powered offenses as they are both averaging over 100 points per game.

Brooklyn’s backcourt is depleted in this game with Jeremy Lin and Isaiah Whitehead out. Not the best game for the backcourt to be depleted, as Brooklyn will have to find a way to stop Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, and Jared Dudley. All three are great shooters and scorers.

Phoenix’s main weakness is their frontcourt. Tyson Chandler, who held Phoenix’s frontcourt together most of the season, is out tonight. Due to this, Brook Lopez and Trevor Booker should be getting the ball as often as possible.

This is the last home game before Phoenix goes on a six-game road trip covering the Rocky Mountains and the Nation’s Capital. As stated previously, this kick-starts Brooklyn’s west coast game trip that will end in Oklahoma City.

Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) and New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) and New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Keys to the Game

1. Feed Brook Lopez the ball

Brook Lopez has scored over 20 points in back-to-back games and scored 34 four games ago against the Pistons. In between those games? An 18-point performance. Needless to say, Lopez is feeling it. He has expanded his range and he can knock down short jumpers and hook shots.

With Tyson Chandler out tonight, Brooklyn would be foolish to not give their big man the ball early and often. If they do, Lopez will light up the stat sheets and they should be en route to a relatively easy victory.

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2. Do not take over 30 threes

Brooklyn is averaging 33 three-point attempts per game and only hit 31.7 percent of them. The Nets have practically lived and died by the long range jumper this season, with more dying than living. With Phoenix having some sharpshooters on their end, Brooklyn will be tempted to heave some long range shots. If they can resist that temptation and do as mentioned above and get the ball to their big men, they should have an easy night. It is not worth trying to get that third point when you could easily get it to Lopez or Booker down low, have them get fouled and make the bucket. Or let them have an easy shot then make a defensive stand then score an easy bucket again. Three-point shots can and will destroy this team if they keep this average up.

3. Do not start Sean Kilpatrick

Sean Kilpatrick has arguably been the NBA’s best bench player this season. Kilpatrick is averaging 15.4 points per game off of the bench, minus the last game, which was a start. In that start, Kilpatrick did not perform well, as he notched less than 10 points on a measly 2-of-9 shooting. Phoenix has Jared Dudley coming off of the bench for them this season to provide that extra offensive spark to keep the team rolling, or to start rolling.

Without Kilpatrick, Brooklyn really does not have that spark off their bench. Luckily, Justin Hamilton kind of filled that role against the Knicks, but it is not guaranteed to happen that way every night. Let Kilpatrick go back to his element off the bench. He has done so well for Brooklyn out of that spot. It is foolish to fix something that does not need to be fixed.

Players to Watch

Brooklyn: Fans should keep an eye on Bojan Bogdanovic tonight. Bogdanovic has struggled as of late and Brooklyn really cannot afford a third straight game from Bogdanovic that makes you want to bench him. If Bogdanovic can put up respectable numbers tonight, his starting role should stay secure. If he goes and has another dud, look for changes to be made.

Phoenix: Phoenix’s Jared Dudley has been a long-time starter and very solid role player in this league. He has been coming off the bench more and more this season and that is where, it seems, Phoenix will keep him at the start of games. Keep an eye to see if Dudley gets off to a hot start. If he does, he will be hard to stop and he will keep getting starter minutes despite starting the game on the bench.

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) in the fourth quarter against Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and forward Trevor Booker (35) at Barclays Center. Hornets win 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) in the fourth quarter against Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and forward Trevor Booker (35) at Barclays Center. Hornets win 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starters

Nets:

  • PG: Sean Kilpatrick
  • SG: Bojan Bogdanovic
  • SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • PF: Trevor Booker
  • C: Brook Lopez

Suns:

Injuries

Nets: Jeremy Lin (hamstring), Isaiah Whitehead (concussion), Caris LeVert (foot)

Suns: Tyson Chandler (personal)

Key Matchups

  • Alex Len vs. Brook Lopez: Alex Len versus Brook Lopez will be a fun matchup to watch. Lopez is better than Len in all but one category: rebounding. Lopez is easily the worst rebounding seven footer in the whole league, and Len is really good at rebounding. If Lopez can get respectable numbers in that category, it will make everything that much easier for Brooklyn.
  • Sean Kilpatrick vs. Phoenix’s Backcourt: Sean Kilpatrick going up against Phoenix’s backcourt will also be fun to watch. Phoenix’s backcourt can score with no issues and all of NBN’s community knows that Skillpatrick can score with zero issues as well. It will be fun to see which group outperforms the other tonight.

Both teams are coming off of losses from Wednesday night. Brooklyn is looking to rebound after losing the Battle of the Boroughs and to acquire their first road win. Phoenix is looking to rebound after a close loss to the Pistons.

The game will be broadcast on the YES Network t 9:00 pm EST. Join the conversation by Tweeting @NetsBlogFS.

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