Brooklyn looks to make it two straight as they head into San Antonio on Thursday. The Nets are still battered and bruised and will come up against a hardened foe in Gregg Popovich Spurs. Here’s some keys to how they can get the win.
Brooklyn are normally very good at forcing teams into mid range and long twos. Coming up against San Antonio, however, that will play right into their hands. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are mid range kings and will eat up those looks if the Nets give it to them.
Treveon Graham will be important in limiting those two as Atkinson emphasised his importance a few days ago to reporters.
“We’re putting him on the best player. And his versatility, to defend 4s, 3s, 2s, 1s. He gets Vucevic in the post last night, stands him up. It’s a great find by our organization. Just thrilled to have him.”
The Nets will need to be locked in defensively to limit the effectiveness of one of the league’s most well-drilled teams.
The Spurs don’t take a lot of perimeter shots but when they take them, they make them. They rank 28th in 3-point attempts (28) though are first in accuracy (41%). Players like Patty Mills and Davis Bertans are weapons from the area and will need to be monitored. Their coach gave Bertans heavy praise by his standards.
“He shoots 3s, that’s what he does. He’s helped himself by learning how to put it down and drive it, so people can’t just play him one way.”
It’ll be a clash of styles offensively as the Nets’ offense is heavily predicated on the 3-point shot. Whoever can win the battle from the perimeter will go a long way to securing the win.
The Nets make rebounding a focal point of their game on both ends of the floor. Ed Davis is one of the best offensive rebounders in the game and Jarrett Allen is continuing to grow, thanks in part to his presence. Coach Kenny even felt the need to sub out Russell due to, among other things, a defensive rebound. Russell explained that himself post-game against Boston.
“I missed a rebound, 50-50 play that set him off a little bit. I’ve got to be better, something I’ve got to think about going into the next one. We need those plays.”
Guard and team rebounding is going to maintain its importance against San Antonio. The Spurs are eighth in the league in defensive rebounding percentage. The Nets are 6th on the offensive end. It’ll be fascinating to watch that battle unfold throughout the game.