1-1! Good stuff! A hard fought win against the Knicks brings the Nets up to a .500 record and we’ll take it! Before we get into everything else it would be silly of me not to mention the fact that Caris Levert is averaging 27.5 ppg over the first two games of the season, tying him for 12th in the NBA with … Kawhi Leonard. Love to see it. Anyway it’s a new day and that means a new opponent, this time it’s the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are 1-1 as well after a win against the Grizzlies and a loss to the Bucks. They’re looking to lock down one of those top four seeds in the Eastern Conference this season and could meet that goal. They have the horses.
Both of these teams are coming off of back-to-backs, so there’s no real competitive advantage to be taken, just some tired players. Of course, the Pacers slept in their own bed last night. Let’s get into it.
Where To Follow The Game
YES has this one at 7pm ET. WFANs coverage starts at 7:15.
Demarre Carroll (ankle surgery) Shabazz Napier (hamstring) and Alan Williams (ankle) are still out for this one. Presumably, so is Treveon Graham who hurt his hamstring during game action and left the arena on crutches. No word on when any of them will be back.
For the Pacers, CJ Wilcox (achilles) is out for the season and T.J. Leaf (sprained ankle) is going to miss a little bit of time as well.
The Pacers underwent a huge resurgence last season behind Most Improved Player Victor Oladipo and strong supporting performances from guys like Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. They also added Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott to the fold this season, and are poised to utilize that extra three-point firepower to build on last season’s success. They’re not a terrible blueprint for the Nets moving forward.
This Pacers rotation isn’t filled stars other than Oladipo, but possess a certain kind of relentless that wears other teams down. They have a strong veteran presence mixed with an athletic and talented young core that makes for a dangerous team on a nightly basis. They also have old Nets friends Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young! (To refresh your memory, the Nets traded Bogie to Washington for the 22nd pick in the 2017 Draft: Jarrett Allen, and traded Thad for the 20th pick in 2016: Caris LeVert. All good.)
The Nets should look to take advantage of the Pacers wing defense and seeming reluctance to shoot a high volume of threes. There aren’t many weaknesses to exploit, the Nets are just going to have to bring it Saturday night to get the W.
Player To Watch
Victor Oladipo famously, at least to Nets fans, edged out Spencer Dinwiddie (and Clint Capela) for the Most Improved Player award last season. He deserved it, by the way. Dude was incredible. He also serves as something of a goal for guys like Caris Levert and D’Angelo Russell who are still trying to take the leap into the next phase of their careers. Oladipo gets it done on both ends of the floor, and has the ability to not only take over games, but also blend in when necessary. Shutting him down offensively and getting by him defensively is going to be a task, and we’ll see if either Caris or D’Angelo can step up to the plate.
From The Vault
Bojan was always one of my favorites when he was with the Nets, it’s nice to see him excelling on a good team. He’s also the trade piece Sean Marks used to secure the pick with which he chose Jarrett Allen. So a positive Net all around. Thanks Bojan! Enjoy.
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