Brooklyn Nets vs. Memphis Grizzlies Pre-Game Report
Another week, another chance for the Nets to come out with a non-win-less week. This week, they’ll only have two games ahead of All-Star Weekend.
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The Nets have not won at home since Randy Foye‘s astonishing game-winning three-pointer against the Charlotte Hornets on December 26. Additionally, they’re still looking to hit the double-digit win total, as they’re the only team that has yet to reach 10 wins.
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Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are still in the playoff bubble, sitting at sixth place in the Western Conference. They’ve also won six of their last eight games, but didn’t bring their best game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, losing 122-107.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Nets continue to put up a fight like they have done for the most part this season and are actually able to outlast their opponents this time around.
Tonight also marks the return of Vince Carter, who spent five seasons with the New Jersey Nets and is in his third year with the Grizzlies. Expect the Nets to show a touching video tribute to the former high-flying star.
Nets’ Keys to Victory
Get someone not named Brook Lopez to contribute
Despite constantly being mentioned in trade rumors this season, Brook Lopez continues to produce for Brooklyn, and pretty consistently, at that. The big man is averaging 20.5 points per game this season and has had 20+ point performances in his last five games. However, in the Nets’ most recent game against the Heat, the rest of the team was absent. In that loss, Lopez scored 30 points, while the second-highest scorer was Randy Foye, who had half that amount. Additionally, Lopez has powered the Nets early on in their last two games, while the rest of the team was still waking up. Brooklyn is trying to play team basketball, not Brook Lopez basketball, but they have yet to show it. They’ll need it tonight though.
Cut down on turnovers
This will continue to be a key to the game until the Nets successfully achieve this. Even then, we’ll still be unsure of whether Brooklyn will revert back to old habits, so perhaps this will stay here for the rest of the season. The Nets are averaging 16 turnovers since the new year hit, which is just under their mark of 16.6 per game for the entire season. So it isn’t news that this is a problem, but head coach Kenny Atkinson needs to drill it into his players’ heads, because nothing he’s currently telling them appears to be working.
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is quite good at pickpocketing passes, so here’s even more motivation for the Nets to get their act together and stop dribbling into traffic or making horrid passes that lead to cringeworthy turnovers.
Bring their A-game in shooting
The Grizzlies are already one of the toughest defensive teams in the NBA. They rank fourth in the league with a defensive rating of 102.8. Consequently, it’ll be difficult for the Nets’ offense to overcome many of Memphis’ defensive sequences, but Brooklyn is known to take the green light on many of their open looks, particular from three-point territory. Thus, they’ll need to knock down a lot more of their open three-pointers, if they hope to have any chance of winning. 31.2 percent of the Nets’ points come from three-pointers, but they are shooting just 33.9 percent from long distance.
Additionally, their three-point shooting only slightly improves when they are open (closest defender four to six feet away) at 34.7 percent, and wide-open (closest defender 6+ feet away) at 35.1 percent. Tonight, the Nets will need some hot shooting from behind the arc, like on Friday against the Heat (a rare 40 percent clip).
Players to Watch
Nets: Brook Lopez (last 5 games: 22.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 blocks)
Grizzlies: Mike Conley (last 5 games: 18.6 points, 6.6 assists, 2 steals)
- PG: Spencer Dinwiddie
- SG: Randy Foye
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- C: Brook Lopez
- OUT: Jeremy Lin (hamstring), Quincy Acy (ankle)
Brook Lopez vs. Marc Gasol: Both players are a major part of the foundation of their team and are their team’s leading scorer. While Gasol will likely have the edge on the boards, Lopez and Gasol going at it down low should still be a sight to watch. It’ll be the battle of the two seven-footers (sorry Justin Hamilton) — who will come out on top?
The game will be broadcast on YES network at 7:30 PM EST. Join the conversation by tweeting @NetsBlogFS.