|Finally, Andrei Kirilenko is making his regular season Nets debut after missing Wednesday's opening loss in Cleveland with back spasms|
When: 8:00 PM; Friday, November 1st, 2013
Where: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, NY
TV: ESPN and YES Network
The beauty of the NBA is that the schedule allows for extremely quick turnaround, meaning gut-wrenching losses can be forgotten soon after with another game. No team appreciates that right now more than the Nets, who lost a close and winnable season opener versus the Cavaliers two days ago. The game came down to the final few seconds in which a missed Paul Pierce sealed Brooklyn's fate and the game's result.
Tonight, in their home opener, the Nets have a chance to completely forgot about their disappointment as they take on the class of the NBA, the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, whom Brooklyn was 2-0 against in the preseason. The Heat are a team the Nets haven't been able to solve since Miami got LeBron and Chris Bosh a few years ago, but with Andrei Kirilenko making his Nets debut, this game is their best chance for a win in awhile.
Assistant coach Joe Prunty, who was at the reins last game for the Nets, is at it again tonight for the last time until Jason Kidd returns from his DUI suspension on Tuesday when Brooklyn takes on the Utah Jazz. Prunty, hired this summer, made some very questionable coaching moves on Wednesday, most notably of which was sitting Deron Williams on the bench for the whole fourth quarter.
D-Will played 22 minutes in the game, but if he came in at around the 4:30 mark of the fourth vs the Cavaliers, the Nets might have been able to right their offensive ship and regain the lead. Unfortunately, he didn't, and Brooklyn's offense went stagnant in the waning moments of regulation, leading to the loss. It's not known if Prunty held Deron out for precautionary measures relating to his chronic ankle problems but if not, it's a highly baffling move.
The Nets had some trouble in guarding the Cavaliers, so dealing with the three-pronged monster of the Heat will not be easy at all. Granted, the loss was the first time the team's whole starting lineup had ever played together as a cohesive unit in an actual game setting, so some kinks definitely had to be worked out. Still, too many Cavaliers had totally uncontested shots. If Brooklyn affords those same opportunities to Miami, it's going to be a blowout and not the kind Nets fans want to see.
MIA- Mario Chalmers (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), LeBron James (SF), Udonis Haslem (PF), Chris Bosh (C)
BKN- Deron Williams (PG), Joe Johnson (SG), Paul Pierce (SF), Kevin Garnett (PF), Brook Lopez (C)
I wouldn't go as far as saying I expect a Nets win tonight, since the Heat have had their number for what seems like an eternity. What I am expecting, though, is a great effort from Brooklyn and an extremely close and exciting game. I'll be in attendance at Barclays tonight, and with this game on national television, it's a huge one for the Nets, win or loss.