The Brooklyn Nets are 2-2 to start the season, and have a matchup at home against the Miami Heat to look forward to.
Will Jimmy Butler continue carry over his hot shooting from their game against the Magic? Or will Kevin Durant and James Harden finally grab their first consecutive wins of the season? Catch this game live on October 28, at 7:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Miami Heat (2-1, 0-1 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyle Lowry
- SG: Duncan Robinson
- SF: Jimmy Butler
- PF: PJ Tucker
- C: Bam Adebayo
The Heat made easy work of their Florida rivals the Orlando Magic in a 107-90 victory the other day, and were led by a stellar performance from Jimmy Butler, who had 36 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals. He went 15 of 21 from the field and didn’t attempt a three-pointer in that game, showing how deadly of a scoring threat he still is when given the opportunity. They’ll need more of that from him against the Nets, who may have trouble finding someone who can guard him.
Bam Adebayo had 16 points and 13 rebounds against the Magic, and he’ll want to be aggressive in the paint against a Nets squad that will be forced to use some mix of Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton to cover him.
Kyle Lowry’s had a muted started to his season so far, averaging 7.0 PPG and 7.0 APG in two games, while shooting a concerning 26.3% from the field and 16.7% from the field. They’ll need him to be better on offense, and he’ll also draw the unenviable task of having to guard James Harden, who’ll be handling primary ball-handling duties for the Nets as always.
Miami’s bench mob will also need to come into their own in this game, as Tyler Herro will need to provide a scoring punch that can counter Patty Mills. Markieff Morris chipped in 16 points off the pine as well against Orlando, but he may not get as many touches against an elite team like the Nets.
Miami are currently 2-1-0 ATS and 1-2-0 against the over/under.
Home: Brooklyn Nets (2-2, 1-1 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: James Harden
- SG: Joe Harris
- SF: Bruce Brown
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Blake Griffin
Kevin Durant has been his usual self in his second year back from his big injury. He’s put up 31.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 5.8 APG in his four games so far this season, all of which are above his career averages. He’s going to get his, even as he faces a familiar frenemy in PJ Tucker, who’s likely going to be his primary defender. Durant is currently leading the league in PER with 39.66.
James Harden’s averaging 17.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 8.3 APG for the season, which would be great for most NBA players. However, because of his skill level, that simply isn’t good enough at the moment. He’s struggled from the field, shooting 36.4% and 32.3% from three, and his PER of 18.48 barely keeps him in the top 100 in the league for that category.
With Kyrie Irving gone, Harden needs to be better. Granted, he’s also likely suffering from the NBA’s rule changes this season, which are designed around stopping players like Harden from drawing unnatural contact with defenders. He feels like he’s being unfairly singled out by refs, but considering how much he thrived in the past while taking advantage of the old rules, he’s got nothing to complain about. Harden is still an unbelievable basketball talent and has the ability to do anything on the court. He’s just got to become more consistent.
Outside of Durant and Harden, the Nets’ most important guy at the moment is Patty Mills, who is averaging 14.5 PPG off the bench and is shooting a ridiculous 64% from three thanks to all of the open looks that Brooklyn’s two stars generate. The Heat must not allow him to get in hot and in rhythm, because Brooklyn don’t have as many reliable scorers outside of those three. Joe Harris has also been struggling from the field and Bruce Brown hasn’t exactly been getting a lot of touches.
LaMarcus Aldridge has proven to be effective at times so far this season, so it will be interesting to see if he gets some extended runtime against the Heat.
Brooklyn are currently 2-2-0 ATS and 0-4-0 against the over/under.
Spread: Even with the new rules, James Harden is due a big game. I think he shows up to play in front of the home crowd and the Nets cover -4.
Over/Under: The Heat won’t want to get into a scoring war with the Nets, but they may not have a choice with the way Kevin Durant is playing. I’m picking the over 217.