Brooklyn Nets Hit the Road for Four-Game Swing
Wizards, Hawks, Heat, Celtics coming up for Nets
There is no monster seven-game, two-week western road swing on the schedule as there was in March 2019, but over the final eight weeks of the season, the Brooklyn Nets will embark on three different four-game road trips. Those will account for 12 of the 16 post-All-Star break road games on Brooklyn’s schedule.
The first is a Southeast Division flavored jaunt that tips off on Wednesday and wraps up a stretch of six road games out of seven for the Nets coming out of the All-Star break. It includes a back-to-back in the middle and ends with a road/home back-to-back — Brooklyn has four of its 10 back-to-backs this season between Feb. 28 and March 28.
Let’s take a look at who’s waiting for Brooklyn on the road over the next week.
Wednesday, Feb. 26; 7:00 p.m.
The Wizards have lost their first three coming out of the break with Monday night’s loss to the Bucks. That dropped the Wizards to 20-36. They’re in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, six games behind the Nets. A Brooklyn win over Washington would put a full seven games between the Nets and the first team currently out of playoff position in the East.
Guard Bradley Beal had 55 points against the Bucks, two nights after going for 53 against Chicago. Beal is second in the NBA with 30.1 points per game, and he’s averaging 36.7 over the last 15 games.
The first meeting of the season, a 113-107 loss in Washington on Feb. 1, has to go down as one of the most disappointing of the season for Brooklyn. The Nets got a big early shooting boost from Garrett Temple and led by nine with 7:34 remaining in the game. They were still up 106-103 with just over three minutes to go before being outscored 10-1 to the finish without Kyrie Irving, who left the game with a knee sprain midway through the season. It would be the last game of the season for Irving.
Friday, Feb. 28; 7:30 p.m.
The Nets have feasted on the 17-42 Hawks this season. Three double-digit wins, an average of 120.0 points per game and a 112.9 offensive rating. Brooklyn has shot 49.3 percent overall and 40.2 percent from 3-point range against Atlanta and outrebounded the Hawks an average of 58.7 to 40.0.
That extends to some individual numbers, particularly former Hawk Taurean Prince, who has shot an insane 64.7 percent from 3-point range (11-of-17) against his old team, while averaging 16.3 points in three games. Spencer Dinwiddie has averaged 23.3 points against Atlanta, and Garrett Temple has gone for 20 a game, double his season average.
The Hawks had two impressive wins right after the All-Star break, beating Miami and Dallas before losing to the 76ers in Philadelphia on Monday night. Trae Young got right back to work with 50 points against the Heat, then a 25 and 10 double-double against the Mavericks. The NBA’s third-leading scorer — 29.9 points per game — has averaged 43.0 points and shot 50.9 percent in two games against the Nets this season.
Saturday, Feb. 29; 7:30 p.m.
This will be the third and final game between the Nets and Heat this season, after they’ve traded comeback wins in the first two games, both in Brooklyn. The Heat are 23-3 at home this season, the third best record in the league behind Philadelphia (27-2) and Milwaukee (26-3).
First time around, the Nets were coming off a win over Boston and leading Miami 103-97 with just under two minutes to go before losing 109-106 on Dec. 1. A month later, on Jan. 10, the Nets were down by nine with 4:29 remaining before coming back for a 117-113 win. Caris LeVert hit two big threes late, including the go-ahead shot for a 112-11 lead with 1:09 to go.
Spencer Dinwiddie has averaged 27.5 points and 9.0 assists in the two games against Miami, shooting 50.0 percent overall and 40.0 percent from 3-point range.
Miami is 36-21 and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference after Monday’s loss to Cleveland, but they’re just 12-13 overall going back to Dec. 30. The Heat have been one of the NBA’s more efficient offensive teams. They’re eighth in the lead in offensive rating (111.9), eighth in field goal percentage (46.9), second in 3-point percentage (37.8), and fifth in effective field goal percentage (54.6). Jimmy Butler is averaging 20.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists.
Tuesday, March 3; 7:30 p.m.
The Nets split their first two with the Celtics, a home-and-home back-to-back sandwiched around Thanksgiving with the home team winning each game. Spencer Dinwiddie averaged 24.0 points and shot 50.0 percent from 3-point range in the two games. The fourth and final game between the two teams will be March 21 in Brooklyn.
The Celtics are 39-17 and in third place in the Eastern Conference. They jumped out with a 10-game win streak early in the season, then won seven straight just before the All-Star break. They’re in the top five in the NBA in offensive rating (112.5), defensive rating (105.8) and net rating (6.7).
Three Celtics — Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown — are averaging at least 20 points per game. And they’re right behind Miami in home winning percentage. Boston has the league’s fourth-best home record with a 23-5 mark. When this trip wraps up on March 3, the Nets will have played three of the league’s top five home teams in their first six road games after the All-Star break.
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