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Nets vs Warriors Preview: Curry meets Russell in a potential track meet

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Both teams are top ten in offensive pace, and the Dubs were nearly ran down in this last matchup of champions vs lottery denizens.

Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

One of my good friends from college, Ralf, is a proud Brooklyn native. He recently traveled across the United States, alone, on a bicycle, performing one-man Shakespeare shows in the streets. His insane artistic journey is now the subject of a play he’s starring in, and I had the pleasure of hosting him when his bike trip landed him in the Bay Area.

As we took BART and hung out around the East Bay, he uttered a phrase that I’ve heard echoed by many New Yorkers since.

“Man,” he cheerfully exclaimed, “Oakland reminds me a lot of Brooklyn!”

Game information

Who: Golden State Warriors (49-14) vs. Brooklyn Nets (20-44)

When: 7:30pm PST - Tuesday, March 6th

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

How to watch: CSNBA, YES Network

How to listen: 95.7 The Game

Friendly Buddy’s blog: Nets Daily

Injury Report

Warriors: Patrick McCaw (left wrist fracture), out

Nets: Jeremy Lin (knee surgery), out

Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets
This look sums up Brooklyn’s season from hell
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

My dear friend’s words about the similarities between the two cities haunted me today as I scanned statistical databases comparing the Brooklyn Nets to the Golden State Warriors.

One team good, other team bad

  • While the Warriors race the Houston Rockets for best record in the NBA, the Nets are currently languishing in the bottom of the Eastern Conference, tied with the Hawks for the worst record in the East.
  • The Warriors are the only team in the league shooting above 50% from the field this season (51.2%), while Jay-Z’s hometown team is dead last at 43.6%.
  • The Warriors net rating (which measures a team’s point differential per 100 possessions) rules the league at 10.6, while the Nets are 5th worst at -4.7.

All stats courtesy of NBA.com

Conclusion? These Warriors are steamrolling toward a third championship in four years while the Nets are plummeting into the lottery. Polar opposites! No contest!

Except for this curious stat: The champs play at a blazing tempo (second in the league in offensive pace)...but did you know the Nets are ranked seventh in that category? They LOVE to play fast, just like the Warriors.

A bottom-feeder with a growing appetite

That’s when I had a flashback to the close finish the last time these two teams squared off, a tough 118-111 Dubs’ victory in New York. The Warriors were up 64-42 at the half, but were nearly swallowed up by the relentless pace that Nets exerted (Brooklyn dropped a ridiculous 42 points in the third quarter).

A quick scan over the Nets’ recent schedule show three down-to-the-wire losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, you’re probably thinking, “All those teams are trash, Daniel!”

I can’t disagree.

But still, in true Brooklyn fashion, this team ain’t layin’ down for anybody. They will be motivated to finish what they couldn’t last time against the Dubs, and that’s catch the champs sleeping.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson a.k.a the “Guard Whisperer” recently had some glowing remarks about former L.A. Lakers castoff and alleged snitch D’Angelo Russell in the New York Post:

“Listen, he has elite vision. Not average vision, not good vision, elite vision,” Atkinson said. “He makes passes that you have to rewind it two or three times on the tape to see how did he get it without a lot of effort. Obviously a good distributor. I always tell him, ‘You’re a little too high-risk.’ If he could just get down to two or three turnovers.

Wow, that reminds me a bit of this Golden State team sometimes. It sounds like this game could be a high-octane barnburner. Any fans sitting court-side in Oracle might wanna bring a face shield though, because the turnover-prone Warriors + Russell’s “high-risk passing” could mean a few fastballs finding their way into the front rows.

Obligatory Curry ankle injury report

Kevin Durant missed the last meeting between the teams due to injury, and there was concern if his fellow MVP Stephen Curry would miss this matchup due to an ankle injury suffered last game in the win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Ruh-roh! Did I mention Curry had 39 points and 11 assists in the last Dubs-Nets tilt?#cookingwithkerosene

Gold-Blooded Prediction: Warriors win 128-108 after crushing Brooklyn’s spirit in the third quarter.