Paul George is the exact kind of player that hurts the Nets constantly: athletic, tall, knockdown three-point shooting, great at driving the paint. Yes, I'm worried about tonight's game
When: 7:00 PM: Monday, February 11th, 2013
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, IN
TV: YES Network
UPDATE: Deron Williams will miss tonight's game, and Wednesday's against the Nuggets as well, with ankle inflammation. The type of condition D-Will is suffering from is known as synovitis, which is serious enough to warrant the extra rest for the Nets' star point guard but not bad enough to cost him playing time after this weekend's All-Star break.
The Nets are in a pretty bad place right now, and with just two more games until the All-Star break (including tonight's), they need a win or two to get the team feeling some confidence so this two-game skid doesn't turn into something more. And they attempt to get one of those wins against a team that has won five of six in the Indiana Pacers, a team that--other than an overtime loss on Friday against the resurgent Raptors--has beaten teams like the Heat, Bulls, and Hawks in recent weeks. Also, with a 31-20 record overall and 20-4 record at home, the Pacers are first in the Central and third in the East. Clearly, this Indiana team is much better than the Indiana team that began the season with a 4-7 record.
These teams have only met once so far this season, at the Barclays Center in a January 13th 97-86 win for the Nets. Brooklyn won that game with a 28-11 fourth quarter and were led by Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, who scored 22 and 20 points respectively. Brook Lopez chipped in with 15 points and nine boards while Kris Humphries added in 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench. For Indiana, David West scored a game-high 27 on 11-19 shooting as former Net Gerald Green and Paul George scored 15 apiece in the losing effort.
A major key tonight for the Nets will be to stop New Jersey native West who has had a great season, averaging 17.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game with less than 10 points in just three games. The scoring is a marked improvement for the former New Orleans Hornet who scored just 12.8 per in his first year with the Pacers in the 2011-12 season. Obviously, Paul George will be who the Nets will focus on guarding the most, but West has been hot enough this season that he warrants a lot of attention when he's on the offensive end of the floor.
BKN- Watson (PG), Johnson (SG), Wallace (SF), Evans (PF), Lopez (C)
IND- Hill (PG), Stephenson (SG), George (SF), West (PF), Hibbert (C)
The Nets have just about hit rock bottom so a surging team like the Pacers, who have been damn-near unstoppable at home, just might have their way with slumping Brooklyn. I have very low expectations for this one, unfortunately.