The Nets will look to get back on the winning track after dropping back-to-back games against last season’s NBA Finals representatives: the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lopez Still Out, Reggie Evans Back
Brook Lopez will miss his fourth straight game dealing with a mild right foot strain. The Nets are 1-2 playing in this recent stretch without Lopez.
Reggie Evans, who missed Tuesday’s game against the Thunder with the flu, will play tonight. His rebounding skills will help the Nets control the glass without Lopez.
The Warriors, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, are predominantly an outside shooting team, so grabbing rebounds will be key to a Nets’ victory. Curry and Thompson torched the Nets from the outside with a combined 48 points on 17-of-32 shooting in the Warriors’ 102-93 victory on Nov. 21 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Warriors Playing Well Defensively
Considered to be “soft” last season, the Warriors’ defense is much improved this season, which is a main factor in why the team is off to a good start. Golden State is tied for eighth in the NBA by holding opponents to a 43.5 shooting percentage on defense.
The Warriors, led on the glass by former Knick David Lee (10.7 rebounds per game), are sixth in the league in rebound differential at +3.39. Interestingly, this strong rebounding has occurred without starting center Andrew Bogut, who has only played in four games this season.
The Nets were outrebounded by the Warriors, 43-35, in their loss in Oakland, so even without Lopez, they’ll look for an improvement in that category at home. Brooklyn has been scoring well at Barclays Center (99.1 points per game), so we’ll see if the Warriors can keep up their defensive pace in the Nets’ building.
A Homecoming for Mark Jackson
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson began laying the foundation for his basketball career less than a mile away from Barclays Center. He starred at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School located in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.
Friday night’s game will be a homecoming for Jackson, who also played his college ball right at St. John’s in Jamaica, Queens.
He’s already said he’s excited to be back in Brooklyn, and his team will likely be trying extra hard to get him a win in his old digs.
It would make for a nice story if Jackson returns home for a victory, but the Nets have another plan in mind. Brooklyn has already lost this season to the Warriors, so expect them to come out with a ton of energy, especially on their home court.
The action tips off at 7:30 p.m. on the YES Network.