After a rough start with their new players, the Brooklyn Nets have been playing better lately, but they are having trouble consistently getting rebounds.
The Nets hope to improve their rebounding on Sunday afternoon when they host Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, who are suddenly struggling, after starting a crucial four-game homestand with a loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Brooklyn (39-31) ranks 29th in the league in rebounding average heading into Sunday. The Nets have been outrebounded in three consecutive games and in five of their last six, including Thursday, when they were outrebounded 57-41 in a 101-96 loss to Sacramento and did not score on any second chances.
They couldn’t stop Sacramento star Domantas Sabonis from getting 21 rebounds and a double-double by halftime, which was one of their problems with rebounding. They won by a score of 122-120 last week in Denver, despite being outrebounded 49-28 and giving Jokic 20 boards.
Brooklyn is two games behind the fifth-place New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference heading into Sunday with five wins in eight games.
The Nets hope to revive their offense in addition to the rebounding. The Nets have shot 41.9 percent in losses to Oklahoma City and Sacramento, after averaging 115.6 points in six games from March 3 to March 12.
Denver (47-24) is guaranteed a playoff spot and the Northwest Division title, but those accolades come at a difficult time.
From January 5 to March 6, the Nuggets won 22 of their 28 games, but they have lost five of their last six.
With a 119-100 victory over Detroit on Thursday night, Denver ended its worst four-game losing streak of the season. However, Denver struggled in the final minutes of its 116-110 defeat to New York on Saturday afternoon.
This was the fourth game in a row in which the Nuggets shot 51.2% or better. After being outscored 16-5 in the final minutes of the third quarter, Denver shot 54.5 percent and scored 91 points in the first three quarters. However, in the fourth, the team struggled and missed 11 of 18 shots, limiting them to 19 points.
Jokic had 24 points and 10 rebounds, but he has only managed 15 rebounds in six of his seven games thus far. On Saturday, he shot 2 of 6 from the field in the fourth quarter and grabbed two boards to cap a game in which Denver was outrebounded 43-33.