Warriors vs. Nets Preview: Back the Dubs in Brooklyn

Joe Dellera breaks down Tuesday's Warriors-Nets game and shares his best bet in this exciting matchup between Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Warriors vs. Nets Odds

Warriors Odds +2.5
Nets Odds -2.5
Over/Under 220
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Golden State Warriors (11-2) dropped just their second game of the season on Sunday and now take on the Brooklyn Nets (10-4) who are in the midst of a three-game winning streak.

In a potential Finals matchup on national television, which team has the edge?

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Warriors Winning with Dominant Defense

The Warriors have been excellent this season as they sit atop the Western Conference and own the league’s best Net Rating (12.7). While the Warriors are patiently waiting for Klay Thompson and James Wiseman to return, they have done fine in their stead.

Golden State has had a relatively easy schedule so far this season, but they are consistently winning games. This is in large part due to their defense. The Warriors’ defense leads the NBA with a Defensive Rating of 99.3 that is two points better than the next closest team, per NBA Advanced Stats. Draymond Green has has anchored the defense and spoiled transition opportunities for opponents with his incredible vision and versatility.

Aside from Green and Stephen Curry, the Warriors have received significant contributions from their role players. One, in particular, is Gary Payton II.

Payton has a preposterous +31.7 point differential per 100 possessions when he is on the floor. His defense is tenacious, he’s recorded at least one steal in each of his last six games, and he’s averaging 2.2 steals per contest. He’s carved himself out a nice role on this team and has increasingly played meaningful minutes.

Durant and Harden Carrying the Nets

The Brooklyn Nets aren’t at full strength, yet they’ve started the year an impressive 10-4. On Tuesday, they will be without Paul Millsap (personal), Nic Claxton (illness), and Joe Harris (Ankle). This will impact their depth.

The Nets have leaned heavily on their superstar duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden throughout this season. Both have league-leading usage rates of 31.9% and 32.4% respectively while scoring 45.3% of the Nets’ 108.5 points per game. That’s a heavy burden to carry for anyone, but with this team, it’s basically been a necessity.

When Durant and Harden are off the floor, the Nets are -30.9 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. Luckily for Brooklyn, their two superstars have vacated the court simultaneously on just 9% of their possessions.

This is by design to ensure there is one walking bucket on the floor at all times, but with limited secondary options outside of Patty Mills and dare I say, LaMarcus Aldridge, this could be difficult for the Nets.

Warriors-Nets Pick

Draymond Green appeared on the Manning Cast for Monday Night Football, and while every player who has made an appearance has lost outright in their next game, I expect the Warriors to buck that trend.

One issue the Nets have run into is when they play teams with top-10 defenses (in points allowed per 100 possessions). They are just 1-2 in those matchups but have seen their offense drop off and only score 96.2 points per 100 possessions. Unfortunately for the Nets, the Warriors have the league’s best defense.

I think these teams are evenly matched when both are healthy, but with the Nets’ injuries, I believe they’re slightly overvalued in this spot. I’ll take the points with the Warriors and play a bit of the moneyline as well.

Pick: Warriors +3 and sprinkle the Moneyline +130