Brooklyn Nets

Nets and Pacers wrap up first half on Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air, but the wins aren’t. The Brooklyn Nets went into Monday’s game against the Clippers hoping to put an end to their five-game losing streak. They weren’t able to do so as Los Angeles extended the Nets’ losing streak to six, tied for longest in the NBA, with a 13 point victory. The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for this team.

The opponent tonight will be the Indiana Pacers. Indy’s been one of the biggest surprises and appear to be heading to the playoffs this spring. They’ve won their last two games after beating the Knicks on Sunday.

It looks like the Pacers will make the playoffs, barring a late season collapse. That means they will keep their second rounder and not have to convey it the Nets. The way protections work on the pick, the Nets get it if the Pacers are in the lottery. If by 2023, that hasn’t happened, the Nets get the pick outright. So a win helps Nets draft picture!

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are both out.

Darren Collison and Glenn Robinson III are out, although it sounds as if GRIII will be returning soon.

The game

Indiana won the first game on Opening Night, second one in mid December, and the third one just before Christmas.

Victor Oladipo’s improvement into an All Star is one of the biggest surprises in the league this year. Like a lot of people, I thought Indy got fleeced when they traded Paul George to the Thunder over the summer. However, Vic has shut all of us up. He recently spoke about the importance of being named an All Star for the first time:

“It definitely means a lot to me, an accomplishment that is humbling to me. I’m just proud I get to represent not only the Indiana Pacers — but my family — as an All-Star. When I got voted in, I was so honored and excited. I look at this as a stepping stone. I have a lot more goals, a lot more things that I want to accomplish as a team and as an individual.”

Oladipo also sings, and since Damian Lillard will be at All Star Weekend, maybe they can collaborate on a track. If this actually happens, I want full credit for speaking it into existence. I’m serious, too.

Jarrett Allen has held his own at the 5 since entering the starting lineup and will face a solid challenge in Myles Turner, who it turns out is a friend and informal adviser. Like Allen, Turner is from the University of Texas and will be an integral part of his team’s future. Turner’s offense is more refined than Allen’s and that will present some issues for Brooklyn.

The other part of the Paul George trade has been solid in his own right. Arvydas’ son has improved dramatically in his sophomore season as he’s shooting 52.7 percent from the field and leading the team in rebounding. One noticeable change in his game is where he’s taking his shots. Last season, his average shot distance was about 13 feet. This year, it’s about seven. It pays to take shots closer to the basket.

The Nets have really missed RHJ. He’s been out since the end of January and Brooklyn has won only once in his absence. The duo of Quincy Acy and Dante Cunningham will handle duties at the four for Kenny Atkinson. While they each bring their own attributes to the table, they can’t replace the all around game Hollis Jefferson brings.

From the Vault

It’s Valentine’s Day, so let Janet Jackson set the mood for you.

More reading: Indy Cornrows

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