It feels as though the Brooklyn Nets haven’t won a road game in six months. With their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, they’re losing streak stretched to eight, and the last victory they’ve pulled off away from Barclays came on January 21 against the Detroit Pistons. The road doesn’t get much more manageable. The Golden State Warriors will host the Nets on Tuesday in what’s shaping up to be a David vs. Goliath-esque battle.
These two last met in November in what was a shockingly-competitive contest. It’s worth noting that Kevin Durant wasn’t active. Golden State came away with the 118-111 win, and a furious second-half comeback lessened the Warriors’ margin of victory. Since that meeting, the fortunes of both teams have been quite different. Brooklyn is just 20-44 on the season and is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Golden State, on the other hand, has reached a new level of dominance. They’re 5-1 in their last six games and have paired a suffocating defense with their explosive offense.
As unlikely as it is, there’s a very slim chance Brooklyn pulls out the win. It’ll require a perfect game and nothing less. It’ll also demand luck — lots of it.
Get Funky With Some Lineups
Over the last three games, Kenny Atkinson’s rotation has been strict. He’s got nine guys averaging between 21.0 (Dante Cunningham) and 34.2 minutes (Spencer Dinwiddie) a night. Brooklyn has come up winless, but the meetings have, nonetheless, been close. Going up against Golden State on Tuesday is the ideal opportunity to get more liberal with the minutes, possibly allocating some to Nik Stauskas, who’s fallen out of the rotation as of late, despite producing well when given extended time. The odds aren’t in Brooklyn’s favor anyway, so there’s not much to lose. Additionally, maybe Stauskas brings some refreshing energy onto the floor.
Atkinson has been doing his best to assimilate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and D’Angelo Russell (yes, still) back into the rotation, but the latter is much further along than his defensive-minded teammate. He’s at least back into the starting lineup. Giving those two minutes means others are going to suffer, but it’s just a bit bizarre to see Atkinson all of a sudden have such a stranglehold on his lineups.
Pray To Whomever You Believe Will Listen
There’s nothing else. Golden State and the Houston Rockets are the two best teams in the league right now, and that means that all the Nets can do is say a couple of words to whatever higher power they believe in. As I alluded to earlier, it’ll take a perfect game to secure the win. That means not many turnovers and no bad shots. Golden State turns those into points in 0.3 seconds. Their luck, however, must also negatively reach the Warriors.
Durant wasn’t present in the first meeting, but he will be this time around. He’s playing out of his mind. In the last five games, he’s averaging 26.8 points while shooting 56.0 percent from the floor and 52.4 percent from the three. Stephen Curry‘s been even better than that. The two-time MVP, who went for 39 back in November, is leading the team in scoring at 27.8 points, and he’s also boasting shooting marks above 50 percent — 51.2 overall, 50.0 from three.
The odds of them having off nights are low, but anything’s possible. Then, of course, there’s the supporting cast to worry about.
Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10:30 p.m. Eastern
Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
TV: YES Network
History: Brooklyn and Golden State have met 87 times in the regular season with the Warriors having the 51-36 edge.
Odds: Golden State is a 14-point favorite with an over/under of 230.0.
Golden State Warriors
- Stephen Curry (Ankle, questionable)* – Curry exited the Warriors’ game against the Atlanta Hawks with an ankle injury, and it’s uncertain if he’ll suit up on Tuesday.
- Patrick McCaw (Wrist, out)