The Brooklyn Nets are in dire need of a bounce-back game after getting burned by the Phoenix Suns. After a day in which they get to travel and rest, they will get that opportunity in Salt Lake City as they match up with the Utah Jazz.
The Utah Jazz are currently on a two-game win streak that featured championship-contending teams (the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks), so this may be an excellent chance to see how the Brooklyn Nets stack up in the bigger picture of the Eastern Conference. The Jazz also play tonight, so they’ll be coming into their game with the Brooklyn Nets off back to back. Brooklyn must take advantage of this.
With that being said, here are some things to look at going into tomorrow’s game:
The Brooklyn Nets turn the ball over at the second-highest clip in the NBA so far this season at a little over 18 giveaways a game (18.3). That is entirely too many. For a team that is 26th in defensive rating, the Brooklyn Nets cannot afford to give opposing teams extra possessions.
On a more optimistic note, the Utah Jazz are ranked 25th in the league on converting turnovers into points. But the Brooklyn Nets are ranked 27th in points allowed to opposing teams off turnovers. Come Tuesday, one of these stats will have to give way to the other.
But as always, the turnover game is very crucial to the Brooklyn Nets’ chances of winning. It is almost criminal for a team that ranks in the Top 5 of virtually every offensive statistical category to give up the ball and force itself to defend while it is a horrendous defensive team.
The Brooklyn Nets and the Utah Jazz are polar opposites as far as basketball teams go. The Brooklyn Nets are one of the fastest-paced teams in the league, while the Utah Jazz are one of the slowest. Brooklyn averages about ten more possessions a game than Utah (112.4 to 102). How fast the game is played holds extra weight with one team playing back to back. If Utah can keep the game at a slow pace, they can stave off the effects of playing a game the night before. If Brooklyn can push the tempo, however, they can make Utah commit sloppy play (23rd in turnovers) while weakening a defense that may be operating on heavy legs.
Containing The Spider
In his third season, Donovan Mitchell has career highs in almost every statistical category that matters. His points, FG percentage, 3pt FG percentage, rebounds, free throw attempts, and steals are all career highs through his seven games of play. As their franchise building block and leading scorer, keeping him from dominating the game is easier said than done. Brooklyn guards will have their hands full with him. This might be a game where David Nwaba can make a significant impact and showcase his need for more minutes.
For the first time since his rookie year, Rudy Gobert is averaging less than 2bpg (1.1). He is still known and feared for his shot-blocking ability, but that hasn’t quite been there as of yet. Some of that is solely because it’s early in the season. Some of that is because of the improved perimeter defense. Regardless of those factors and others, he is a big part of the NBA’s stingiest defense. The Brooklyn Nets cannot settle for jumpers all night. Attack Rudy Gobert and get him into foul trouble early. This should soften up a defense that allows less than 100pts a game and hasn’t allowed more than 104pts at home (only two teams have hit the 100pt mark when facing the Utah Jazz at home).