Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NBA Preview: Brooklyn Nets (36-28) at Houston Rockets (15-49)

Mikal Bridges, a forward, is largely to blame for the Brooklyn Nets’ refusal to wilt, despite the prediction that they would die after losing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

After a four-game losing streak, the Nets’ 102-86 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday marked their second consecutive double-digit victory, lifting them to 4-6 since the trade deadline.

On Tuesday, Brooklyn will face the Houston Rockets, who, despite winning their 11th straight game on Saturday, remain in the bottom half of the Western Conference standings. Brooklyn will be looking to extend its modest winning streak against the Rockets. On March 29, the teams will meet once more in Brooklyn.

After trading Irving and Durant to Dallas and Phoenix, respectively, the Nets entered Monday with a three-game lead over Miami for sixth in the Eastern Conference, a position that would allow Brooklyn to avoid the play-in tournament. This meant that they were not eliminated from the playoff picture.

In the Nets’ victory over the Hornets, Bridges scored 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds. In his nine games with the Nets, he has averaged 26.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while shooting 60.9 percent from the field. Before joining Brooklyn as part of the Durant trade, he played 56 games for the Suns and averaged 17.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, shooting 52.9 percent from the field.

Bridges has scored 30 or more points four times in his first 365 games with the Nets, having previously done so twice. In the win over Boston on Friday, he scored 38 points and grabbed ten rebounds.

The Houston Rockets have been scoring a lot more lately. Over the weekend, they beat the San Antonio Spurs twice to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.

The Rockets scored 34 transition points in their 142-110 victory at home on Sunday after scoring 30 fast-break points in a 12-point victory in San Antonio. Seven Rockets scored in double figures in the season-series finale, led by Jalen Green, who scored 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the first victory. Houston had 29 assists overall.

The Rockets have a lot of athleticism, but they haven’t mastered playing at a fast pace. They demonstrated how potent their offense can be when they run with purpose and abandon against the Spurs.

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