Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pre-Game Report

Apr 3, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham (44) and New Orleans Pelicans guard Toney Douglas (16) guard Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) in the second  half at Barclays Center. Pelicans defeat the Nets 106-87. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 3, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham (44) and New Orleans Pelicans guard Toney Douglas (16) guard Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) in the second half at Barclays Center. Pelicans defeat the Nets 106-87. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets do not like 2017. The Nets are currently riding a seven game losing streak into this bout against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are fresh off of a big win against the Knicks.

The Brooklyn Nets look to snag their first victory of 2017 against  the New Orleans Pelicans in Brooklyn Thursday night. Luckily for Brooklyn, Anthony Davis is listed as questionable after injuring his left hip pointer against the Knicks.

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Not having Anthony Davis would be huge, especially if Trevor Booker is unable to play again due to his hip injury. As of now, Booker is listed as probable. Without Davis, the Pelicans will miss a significant amount of scoring, rebounding, and defense.

The Nets could very easily steal this one from the Pelicans and the absence of Davis will make it that much easier. The Pelicans have not been great this season as they sit at 15-24. They are always capable of going off on offense, and, as we know, the Nets defense can be pretty darn abysmal.

Another good plus for Brooklyn, the Nets have a large majority of their wins this season against the Western Conference. Hopefully everything adds up the way Brooklyn would like, allowing them to snap this terrible losing streak.

Jan 6, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) drives up to shoot during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Cleveland Cavaliers won 116-108. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 6, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) drives up to shoot during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Cleveland Cavaliers won 116-108. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Keys to Victory:

1. Do not start Joe Harris

Where to begin with Joe Harris as a starter this season? He has scored a minuscule amount of points and it is 50/50 if he will have a good night on the glass. Off of the bench, he typically scores a decent amount of points and will hit a three-pointer or two. As a starter, he cannot hit a shot and his minutes are down.

If Brooklyn wants to get off to a good start, start someone like Sean Kilpatrick or Caris LeVert instead. Those two players are dynamic and can get points for your team when they are needed. LeVert has started his transformation and Brooklyn is excited. It may be too early to start him, but the fans would love it.

No matter who you start in front of Harris, it will be beneficial to the team. Brooklyn cannot afford two points in the last two games as a starter. Not on this losing streak.

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2. Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker missed a good amount of Sunday’s loss and all of Tuesday’s loss due to a hip injury sustained against the 76ers. As of now, Booker is listed as probable for Thursday’s game.

If Booker plays, he will need to rebound the basketball. Brook Lopez is not known for rebounding, and the guards have issues due to their size. Booker is the rebounder for this team and, especially if Anthony Davis plays, Brooklyn needs to win the battle on the glass. It has been a struggle all season, but Booker has shown flashes of greatness on the glass.

3. Easy on the fouling

Brooklyn has had a rough time with fouling the opposition. For instance, Tuesday against the Hawks, Atlanta shot 15 more free-throws than Brooklyn did. Brooklyn has had issues the past several games with fouling, especially in the Cavs game. The Nets need to remain aggressive, but know when to foul and when not to foul.

In turn, Brooklyn needs to draw more fouls on offense. Brook Lopez and the slashing guards have been doing a mediocre job at drawing fouls this season. Brooklyn needs to win the free-throw battle and stay out of the bonus defensively.

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Players to Watch:

Brooklyn

Caris LeVert. LeVert is one of the only reasons a lot of Nets fans watch games nowadays because they love watching his potential shine through. LeVert is still getting relatively limited action, but his role and minutes are increasing game by game. Watching LeVert is such a treat to the Nets’ fans eyes. On the front end of a back-to-back, LeVert may get some very solid minutes.

New Orleans

Buddy Hield. Hield is another rookie, but he was highly regarded entering the draft. The Oklahoma product can be explosive and a lot of fun to watch. These two young teams have talent they want to develop, so why not enjoy a game of watching young, developing stars.

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) reacts with Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) after making a shot in the second quarter against Charlotte Hornets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) reacts with Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) after making a shot in the second quarter against Charlotte Hornets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starting Lineups:

Brooklyn:
  • PG: Isaiah Whitehead
  • SG: Sean Kilpatrick
  • SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
  • PF: Trevor Booker
  • C: Brook Lopez

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New Orleans:
  • PG: Jrue Holiday
  • SG: Buddy Hield
  • SF: Solomon Hill
  • PF: Dante Cunningham
  • C: Anthony Davis

Injuries:

Brooklyn: Jeremy Lin (hamstring) OUT. Trevor Booker (hip) PROBABLE.

New Orleans: Anthony Davis (QUESTIONABLE)

Key Matchup:

Tonight’s key matchup will be Isaiah Whitehead against Jrue Holiday. Holiday has potential to score a lot of points and dish out a lot of assists. He does not do it consistently, per say, but he can do it against this Nets team if they allow him to do so. It will be Whitehead’s job to contain Holiday as much as possible.

The game will be broadcast on the YES Network and streamed on Fox Sports Go starting at 7:30PM EST. Join the conversation by tweeting @NetsBlogFS.

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