Oct 28, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Myles Turner (33) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) during second half at Barclays Center. The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Indiana Pacers 103-94. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
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The Brooklyn Nets travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers following Thanksgiving. This is the second meeting of both teams this season.
The Brooklyn Nets are back on the road tonight to face the Indiana Pacers after playing two games at home. Brooklyn is on a five-game losing streak and now sits at second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with a 4-10 record.
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Meanwhile, the Pacers haven’t been doing particularly well, as they stand below .500 with a 7-9 record, but are still in talks for the playoff race. It won’t be an easy game for the struggling and shorthanded Nets, to say the least.
Without their star point guard Jeremy Lin, the Nets have gone 2-7. Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead also suffered injuries. Though the extent of their injuries has not yet been revealed, it appeared RHJ injured the same ankle as last season, and Whitehead was seen grabbing his wrist. Both players headed back to the locker room following their altercations and did not return to play.
The Nets are already shorthanded enough as is at the point, and Whitehead already missed two games with a concussion. Additionally, it’s even clearer how little depth Brooklyn has at the three, since the Nets’ wings are mainly swingmen. It’ll be interesting to see who Brooklyn goes with if RHJ and Whitehead are unavailable.
The Nets and Pacers met for the first time on October 28, Brooklyn’s home opener. Brooklyn came out on top, 103-94, in a late fourth quarter surge led by the bench. Now, the Pacers have home court advantage, and the Nets will need everyone to be at their best game, which has not been the case these past few games.
Oct 28, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) battles for a rebound with Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and forward Justin Hamilton (41) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Nets’ Keys to Victory
Sloppy basketball has plagued Brooklyn in their past few games without Lin. In their last game, the Nets committed 19 turnovers, many of which led to easy baskets by the Celtics. One of these turnovers involved the Nets being right under the Celtics’ basket, and Boston was able to convert on a quick layup. With the Nets’ poor defense, they have to at least control the ball well on offense to limit the amount of points scored by the opposing team.
Effective ball movement
It hasn’t been easy for the Nets to move the ball well without a true, experienced point guard leading the way. Sean Kilpatrick, Isaiah Whitehead, and Randy Foye are not the ideal candidates for the starting point guard position, but that’s who Brooklyn has to work with. Boston triumphed in assists on Wednesday — 26 to Brooklyn’s 18, which attributed to the Nets’ poor offense. Improving ball movement is easier said than done though, since the Nets lack a point guard who can get the job done. It’s still a work in progress, but we did see some flashes of good ball movement by the team in the first half — just missed shots.
Staying in the game
This has been an issue for the Nets all season so far. Brooklyn would start off the game well, or at least pull the game close by halftime, as seen in Wednesday’s matchup against the Celtics. In their previous matchup against the Pacers, the Nets won off a fourth quarter resurgence, but they cannot depend on this every single night. It’s difficult for Brooklyn to maintain the same level of play throughout the entire game due to lack of depth, but the same storyline gets tiring.
Oct 28, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis (11) shoots the ball in front of Brooklyn Nets forward Justin Hamilton (41) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Booker vs. Thaddeus Young: It’s the battle of the power forwards — need I say more? After the Nets traded Thaddeus Young to the Pacers this offseason, there was concern over how Brooklyn would fill the void left behind. Trevor Booker has been filling this hole nicely, at least on the boards. Young led the Nets in rebounds per game last year and with Brooklyn’s rebounding woes this season as is, Booker will need to outcompete Young on the glass. After all, the Nets can’t depend on Brook Lopez to get ten rebounds on a given night.