In the marquee game of the weekend in the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors meet in primetime on ABC on Saturday night. Kevin Durant returns at the perfect time, as he’s cleared Covid-19 protocol and is scheduled to play against the Warriors in San Francisco. ABC is without a doubt happy to see that Durant will be suiting up for the Nets.
It certainly makes this game more interesting and will likely attract more viewers with Durant in the lineup. When you look at the record of these teams, the Nets at 15-12 and the Warriors at 14-12, you wouldn’t think of this as a marquee matchup. However, the talent on the floor is pretty impressive, and both teams are better than they were to begin the year.
Despite a record of 15-12, the Nets are still a popular pick to win the Eastern Conference. With the combo of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Durant it’s hard not to like what the Nets bring to the equation in the East. Having said that, the Nets must figure out their defensive problems before I have them going to the NBA Finals.
They are not going to be able to go through the spring and into the playoffs in their current defensive form. It begs the question whether the Nets will look to make a deal at the deadline for help on defense, or leave it up to Steve Nash to figure out. Nash has his hands full, because of the Nets flunk out this season, then you have to believe his seat is going to be hot.
It’s hard to see the front office being pleased with going nowhere after trading for Harden. Nash has no other option, but to win or face immense pressure. In any event, we did see the Nets’ defense finally look good on Wednesday. They held the Indiana Pacers to 94 points in a rare win with their defense, 104-94. This was after the Nets were embarrassed 122-111 against the Detroit Pistons.
There will be a noticeable loss in the paint against the Warriors tonight. DeAndre Jordan is officially out for personal reasons. Jordan hasn’t been the biggest threat offensively this season, but he is a big body that can clog up passing lanes in the paint. It would have been nice to have his presence with Stephen Curry driving to the rim. This should make for one heck of an entertaining contest and a must-watch affair at the Chase Center. Head below for our free Nets vs. Warriors pick on February 13, 2021.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors NBA Betting Odds:
Nets vs. Warriors Prediction:
The Big 3 is back together for the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night in primetime against the Warriors. With Durant back on the floor, the Nets get a player who is shooting better than 50% from the field. He has been on fire from deep with a three-point percentage of 44.9%. Durant returns to action with an average of 29.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
The Nets could still score without Durant playing, but it was clear his presence was missed greatly. He has led the Nets to 120.4 points per game for second in the NBA. They are shooting a league-best 49.6% from the field as a team. That’s the kind of numbers you expect to see from an elite college team playing in a conference with bad defenses, like say, Gonzaga.
With and without Durant, the Nets have diced the Warriors’ defense up with ease in recent matchups. They scored 129 and 125 points versus the Warriors in their previous two meetings. The Nets were 125-99 winners over the Warriors earlier in the season in December.
It was an easy win for the Nets, as they went into the half with a 18-point lead and at no threat of giving the lead up in the second-half. The Nets shouldn’t expect this game to be as simple on Saturday night. Stephen Curry and the Warriors are much hotter than they were back then on December 22, especially recently.
The Warriors have notched an average of 120.8 points per game through their last five outings. Curry is coming off a monster 40-point performance against the Orlando Magic in a 111-105 win. This was after he went for 32 points against the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors have moved up into the top-10 with 113.8 points recorded per game going into Saturday night.
Curry is going to have to continue to be hot if the Warriors are going to keep pace with the Nets. He is going to have to fire away and get some help from Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has been solid next to Curry, as he is scoring 17.6 points and shooting 46.9% from the field. This is a high total, but could see it go up some more. A final score of 127-123 or 125-122 looks about right.