Feb 29, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) during an NBA game at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Brooklyn Nets have been competing this season more than any of their fans could have hoped for up to this point. They currently sit at 4-5 are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
Considering the Brooklyn Nets were projected to be the worst team in the NBA this season, it is hard to be disappointed with how they are playing. The Nets are the 11th highest scoring team in the league with 106.3 points per game.
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Brooklyn is coming off a solid week of basketball, playing in three contests and winning two of them. They found a 119-110 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves to start the week, but then dropped a game to the New York Knicks 110-96 in an intra-New York showdown. Their 122-104 win against the Phoenix Suns was a huge one because it marked their first win on the road, which could incite some momentum moving forward.
Their win against the Suns was also one to recognize because it was their first win without needing to be carried by a 20+ point performance from Brook Lopez. They also did it practically without a point guard, so it shows you just how much depth that this team has. It also makes you question just how good this team really is if they have their star point guard, Jeremy Lin, back on the court.
Nov 12, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) drives to the net against the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Nets won 122-104. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
A Look At This Week’s Games
This week isn’t going to be nearly as easy as the previous week was for the Nets. They will have to face off against the number 3, 4, and 5 playoff teams in the Western Conference last year and a Los Angeles Lakers team that has been taking this season by storm. It is, by far, going to be one of the most difficult weeks that they will have all season, so they need to step up and compete. So without further ado, here are my predictions for the Nets this week.
Brooklyn Nets @ Los Angeles Clippers
The Nets will start their week needing to travel to Los Angeles to face a Clippers team that sits atop the Western Conference. With their struggles on the road and on defense, it is hard to think that the Nets will come back with a win against the ninth highest scoring team in the league. The Clippers also allow the least amount of points in the league.
Prediction: Nets lose this game with offensive struggles.
Brooklyn Nets @ Los Angeles Lakers
Their road trip will continue again in Los Angeles against the Lakers, who have been another team that there seems to be no answers for. They are another high scoring team, but the Lakers lack the defense compared to the Clippers, which will be a huge factor in this game.
Prediction: Nets steal a win on the road in a high-scoring showdown.
Brooklyn Nets @ Oklahoma City Thunder
After Kevin Durant left OKC, there was some thought that the team would struggle, but it almost looks like they got better during this season. They haven’t been as strong offensively as they could be, but their defense has been able to make up for it. Their last week wasn’t that strong either, but they are sure to recover this week.
Prediction: Nets drop the final game of their road trip with triple digits from both sides.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Brooklyn Nets
It’s the final game of their week and their first game back in Brooklyn. The Trail Blazers have been one of the most dominant teams in the league up to this point, but I think that the Nets will be up for the challenge.
Prediction: Nets win this game with a strong defensive performance at home.
Jan 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) scores a lay-up against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Nets 112-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Who to Watch For
The Nets are going to need a lot to go right this week, so let’s take a look at the player to watch and the players that need to step up this week.
Player to Watch: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stepped up in a big way for the Nets in their first road win of the season against the Phoenix Suns, and he will need to continue to have an impact on this team. On the season, he has not been as great as they would have hoped for him to be, putting up seven points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He is a dynamic player for this Nets team and they need to give him an opportunity to make an impact on the court.
Players Who Need to Step Up: Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic
Brook Lopez is almost always going to be a player to watch for. His impact on this team is undeniable. As I stated earlier, besides their win against the Suns, every other win, he has put up 20+ points for his team. The team practically is held together by his success, so he is going to need to step up in a big way for this tough stretch of games. He is a leader and a playmaker on this team, so it is his duty to step up and give his team the best chance for success.
Bojan Bogdanovic is also going to need to step up this week. He is one of the better offensive playmakers on this team and after struggling in his last two games with single-digit points, he will need to find his rhythm again.