Brooklyn Nets (4-5) @ LA Clippers (9-1)
7:30 p.m. PST
November 14, 2016
The Brooklyn Nets are coming to STAPLES Center on a Monday night to face the LA Clippers. I’m sure you all remember the last time the Nets faced the Clippers, exactly 37 weeks ago!
The Clippers wound up sweeping the Nets last season, including the February 29 (Leap Year) game at STAPLES Center that saw LA SG Jamal Crawford go off for a game-high 26 points on 10-of-17 FGs in a 106-95 win. The Nets haven’t won at STAPLES Center against the Clippers since November 15, 2010, when the team was based in New Jersey and C Brook Lopez scored a team-high 24 points on 10-of-16 FGs to win 110-96. Lopez is the only Nets player still with the team since that game, and the Clippers have won five in a row at home against the Nets.
After Saturday night’s win at Minnesota that saw the Clippers score a season-high 119 points, the Clippers are an NBA-best 9-1 and on a 6-game winning streak. The Clippers have never won 7 games in a row within the month of November since moving to Southern California, and the only other time they have beaten the Nets 3 straight times was in 1989-1990.
The only other 7-game win streak within the month of November in franchise history was when the Buffalo Braves won 11 in a row in 1974.
The Nets have yet to win back-to-back games this season under new head coach Kenny Atkinson, but they are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 122-104 victory in Phoenix. The points were a season-high for the Nets and they were led by SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who had a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds to go with 4 assists, a steal and a block.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 13, 2016
This will be a matchup between two Cs drafted in 2008 by their respective franchises. Lopez, the 10th overall pick in 2008, is expected to play in his 496th career game. That would tie former SG Kerry Kittles for 7th all-time in Nets franchise history. Lopez is averaging a career-low 9.4 2-point FG attempts per game this season, but he is making a career-high 58.7 percent inside the arc. And he has pretty much eliminated midrange shots from his selection while already setting career-highs with 12 made threes this season on 38 attempts (31.6 percent). Lopez made only 3-of-31 (9.7 percent) threes in his first 8 NBA seasons combined. Here’s a look at how Lopez’ shot distribution has changed under Atkinson:
Brook Lopez, 2016-2017
Jordan, the 35th overall pick in 2008, has anchored the top defense in the NBA this season while averaging 12.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. LA has held opponents to a league-low 40.6 percent from the field this season. Jordan has also scored in double figures in 3 straight games, and he has made 16-of-28 (57.1 percent) of his FTs in the last two games, with all of the attempts coming as a result of 4th quarter hacks. It will be interesting to see if the Nets, currently the 2nd-fastest paced team in the league, will resort to putting Jordan on the line for stretches at a time tonight.
The Nets are expected to be without PG Jeremy Lin, who has missed the last 4 games with a left hamstring strain. Rookie PG Isaiah Whitehead is expected to be available after missing the last 2 games with a concussion, while PG Sean Kilpatrick has held it down as a starter the last 2 games. Kilpatrick has struggled as a ball-handler, averaging only 4.0 assists and 4.7 turnovers per game in his last 3 games. That doesn’t bode well against Clippers PG Chris Paul, who leads the NBA with 27 steals (2.7 per game).
Clippers backup SF Wesley Johnson is listed as doubtful with a left heel contusion, which should mean more time for backup PF Brandon Bass. These two teams shoot the most threes in the league from bench players, with the Nets bench taking 17.8 threes per game and the Clippers bench taking 13.4 per game. The Nets also lead the NBA in threes made off the bench with 6.4 per game, led by backup C Justin Hamilton (1.8 made threes per game, 47.1 percent), backup wing Joe Harris (1.8 made threes per game, 34.0 percent), and former Clipper backup guard Randy Foye (1.3 made threes per game, 30.8 percent).
The Clippers return home to host the Nets tonight – what should Clippers focus on defensively?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) November 14, 2016