Brooklyn Nets Tip Off Six-Game Road Trip in Detroit
After a six-game homestand, the Brooklyn Nets set off for a six-game trip with a 5-3 record, three-game winning streak and a defense that defied the off-season doubters.
Two weeks into the season, the Nets are eighth in the defensive standings – 104.1 points per 100 possession – third in the opponent’s effective field goal percentage (48.3) and fourth in the opposing field goal percentage (42.2).
“I just think we have to have an underdog mentality,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash after Wednesday’s 117: 108 win over Atlanta. “We have to be connected. We have to understand what we’re trying to achieve defensively and play together down there. We have to communicate and a big part of it is finding the collective clarity and connectivity and then a big part is just the underdog mentality. I think we gave up 12 offensive rebounds but they didn’t hurt us too much tonight due to the rebounds but I thought we had the big rebounds when it came down to it and I thought our guys were really holding up tonight and had this resilience down there. “
While the Nets occupy 24th place in the league in terms of the admissible points of the opponent’s second chance (13.8 per game) and 18th in the total rebounds of the opponent per game (10.6), they are actually right in the middle, 15th in the league defensive rebound percentage (73.7). But with Brooklyn opponents shooting low percentages on a high number of field goal attempts – the Nets allow 93.4 shots per game, most in the league – there are many rebounds on Brooklyn’s defensive end.
Gang rebounding is something that Nash emphasized and expects he will continue to do, saying, “We would be exceptionally defensive if we could recover better.”
“I mean individually, we guard,” said Harden. “The coaches do an amazing job with the gamplan and make sure we are prepared. And we just go out there, play hard for each other and have each other’s backs free. We’re not the biggest team so we have to do whatever we can before it hits the paint and then rejoin a basketball as a union. So we did that for four quarters. Obviously they are a good team, especially offensive, they will fire some shots. They are going to do some plays. But the things we can control are the bouncing and loose balls, not the ball turning. And I think we did pretty well tonight. “
Now the Nets are embarking on the longest road trip of the season and won’t be back at the Barclays Center until November 16 when they host the Golden State Warriors.
“We look forward to it,” said Durant. “It’s a good test to see where we stand as a group. It was very important to us to spend these two weeks at home to get to know the city, our routines and each other again. So it was good to do that at home. Take it out on the streets now.
Let’s take a look at who’s waiting for Brooklyn en route:
November 5th at Pistons, 7:00 p.m.
The Nets tackled the Pistons in Brooklyn last Sunday, 117-91, slightly behind a triple-double from James Harden and 23 points in Kevin Durant’s 10-of-13 shootout. At the heart of Detroit’s rebuilding project, 2021 No. 1 Pick Cade Cunningham, made his NBA debut the night before and did not play against Brooklyn. The Pistons are after defeats this week to Milwaukee and Philadelphia 1-7 and last in the league in the offensive standings (97.1). No team has finished with such a low grade since the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014-15 season (94.9), which finished 18-64.
November 7th at Raptors, 3:30 p.m.
After a lost season in Tampa last year, in which none of their top players like Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet or Kyle Lowry played more than 56 games, the Raptors had the chance to regroup and rest. Lowry has moved to Miami, but Toronto added Scottie Barnes with the fourth pick in the draft, and striker OG Anunoby made a leap forward early in his fifth NBA season. Siakam is on hold after shoulder surgery out of season. Toronto start their Friday night game against Cleveland 6-3 after winning their last five games.
November 8th at Bulls, 7:00 p.m.
The Bulls got off to a quick start after their own refit and won six of their first seven games. They added guards Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso to last year’s midseason pickup Nikola Vucevic and filled many of the holes around All-Star Zach LaVine. They lost promising second year striker Patrick Williams after just five games to a wrist injury. The Bulls are in the top 10 of the NBA in the offensive rating, defensive rating and net rating.
November 10th at Magic, 7:00 p.m.
Orlando is incredibly young, with two rookies and no one with more than three years of experience in the starting line-up. But that group, which includes two top 10 picks from this year’s draft in Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, is in 109 minutes plus 33 from a loss to Boston on Wednesday that dropped the Magic to 2-7. That’s the third highest grade in the NBA. However, when the Magic goes on the bench they struggle as their reserves have so far been exceeded by 65 points, the worst mark in the league.
November 12 at Pelikanen, 7:00 p.m.
The Pelicans have been stuck in the mud without Zion Williamson, who underwent off-season foot surgery after averaging 27.0 points on 61.1 shoots last season. He’s out for at least a few more weeks, and with Lonzo Ball in Chicago and Eric Bledsoe in LA at the Clippers, New Orleans has lost three of its top scorers last season and is in the bottom third of the league in offense. The Pelicans go into Friday’s game at the Golden State at 1-8.
November 14th at Thunder, 6:00 p.m.
The Thunder are the fourth reconstruction team that the Nets will encounter on the voyage. 15 of their 17 players have three years or less of NBA experience at the start of the season. You are 29th in the league in the offensive scoring and score 98.0 points per 100 possessions. Oklahoma City stands 2-7 with both wins against the Lakers.