The Brooklyn Nets are still the most popular team in the league when it comes to NBA Final picks despite their recent struggles.
Brooklyn has three superstars on its roster, but the Nets have only had all three of them on the court together for two games this season. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will both be out for their game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, putting the Nets at a big disadvantage against the team with the second-best record in the NBA.
On Sunday, January 29, 2022, the Golden State Warriors will host the Brooklyn Nets at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. This game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors Preview
Golden State has bounced back over the last week after sputtering at the start of the month. The Warriors dropped six of nine games during a two-week stretch, but they have won three in a row at home coming into their Thursday night tilt with Minnesota. They squeaked past both Houston and Utah by two points before blowing out Dallas by 38 points on Tuesday night.
As for Brooklyn, the Nets have fallen to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings after stumbling throughout the month of January. They are 6-9 since the calendar turned over as Kevin Durant’s injury has really hurt this team. Durant has already missed two weeks with a sprained MCL, and he is expected to miss at least two more weeks.
If you look strictly at PER numbers, you wouldn’t think that Golden State is one of the best teams in the NBA. No one has a PER over 22, and only two players have a PER over 20. However, the Warriors do have the league’s all-time leader in three-pointers in Steph Curry and a defensive wizard in Draymond Green.
Curry is one of the favorites to be named MVP according to the most recent NBA MVP betting odds. He is averaging 25.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 6.2 APG for the Warriors as the team’s preeminent offensive weapon, and he has been superb as Klay Thompson is still finding his footing after coming back from two major injuries.
Green is playing at a high level too. He had a disappointing 2020-21 campaign, but he has roared back this season to be a decent enough scoring threat in addition to everything else he brings to Golden State. The defensive wizard is stuffing the stat sheet with 7.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 7.4 APG, and he is enough of a scoring threat that teams can’t just sag off him like they did last season although he is making just 28.6% of his treys.
Defense has played a big part in Golden State’s success throughout the season. The Warriors rank first in scoring defense and scoring margin thanks in large part to this defense. They lead the league in a ton of efficiency metrics too like opponents’ effective field goal percentage, shooting efficiency, and both two-point and three-point percentage. They only allowed Brooklyn to score 99 points when they met in the Big Apple earlier this season, and Kevin Durant made less than a third of his field goals.
Neither Durant nor Kyrie Irving will be on the court for this meeting. Durant is still out due to injury, while Irving isn’t allowed to play in Golden State due to San Francisco’s COVID restrictions. That will put a lot of pressure on James Harden to carry the load for the Nets in their stead. Harden has been hit or miss this season, but he is still posting his usual numbers. He is averaging 23.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 10.1 APG to lead the Nets in the latter two categories.
Harden isn’t as efficient as he used to be in the past though. He is making just 42% of his field goals and 33.7% of his threes, and a lot of his value comes from his ability to get to the free throw line.
The role players on this team have come up short in big ways this season. Fortunately, LaMarcus Aldridge has been able to give the Nets quality minutes despite being 36 years old.