What: Charlotte (2-0) at Brooklyn Nets (1-1)
When: 4:00 pm EDT
Where: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, NY
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
This game starts at 4:00 this afternoon. Don’t you forget it.
The Hornets kind of dodged a bullet coming into this game. The Nets looked destined to come into today’s match-up 0-2 and searching for their first win of the season. Instead, the 76ers made their last field goal with 5:33 remaining in the game and let the Nets turn a 10-point deficit into a five-point win in that very limited amount of time.
So at the very least the Nets won’t come into this game with the added desperation that comes with being a title contender that hasn’t won a game yet. To add to that, this is their first non-nationally televised game against a low profile appointment. Let’s call it a letdown spot.
The Nets don’t have Kyrie Irving and won’t for the foreseeable future, but they still have a decent roster otherwise. Kevin Durant has been the alpha so far, leading the team in points, rebounds, and assists (tied with James Harden). He’s taken the lion’s share of the shot attempts and is averaging 30 points per game. Harden has been uncharacteristically low profile so far.
The supporting cast is borderline unfair. Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Alrdridge, and Paul Millsap are all past their prime, but any of them could suddenly decide to turn back the clock and have occasional big night. Patty Mills signed over the summer and is yet to miss a 3-pointer—he’s 10 for 10 in two games. Joe Harris has missed some 3-pointers, but he’s very good at shooting them too.
The Nets have played a relatively slow pace, so the Hornets should try to stick to the game plan and speed them up, and the Nets have been pretty susceptible to opponents’ fast breaks through two games. They also have a poor defensive rating, but that can be partially explained away by a tough pair of opponents to start the season, one of which beat them pretty badly.
The Hornets will be riding high after a 2-0 start and they should be very fired up to prove themselves against one of the NBA’s elite teams, even if it comes during a football Sunday afternoon. They don’t have the star power that the Nets do, but they have advantage in the athleticism department. They need to put pressure on the Nets with their pace. A win will be tough and expectations should be managed accordingly, but it’s definitely not impossible that the Hornets pull it off.