G11 Brooklyn Nets (4-6) vs Denver Nuggets (5-5) “Back to Back Night”

The Nets finally snapped the four-game losing streak with a 98-92 victory over the Phoenix Suns. D’Angelo Russell played very well (23 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block) and Joe Harris had season-high 18 points and 3 rebounds. Crabbe also played well with 15 points, 1 steal, 1 block (3-4 three-point shooting) and provided strong defense. Unfortunately, Rondae-Hollis Jefferson was injured due to right hip contusion.

Russell’s ball-distributing mode (18.7 points and 8 assists) has been huge in the Nets 3 wins but his scoring mode (22.7 points and 4.3 assists) has not fared well resulting in 6 losses. The Nets would need him as a good facilitator as they face the Nuggets in high-elevation Denver for the second straight night. Net defense will suffer as Allen, Booker, and RHJ will be out.

ESPN Preview:

Denver can’t take the Nets lightly. Playing consecutive nights is hard, but the Nuggets have been victimized by teams coming to Pepsi Center on the second of back-to-back games.

The Saturday loss to Golden State was Denver’s second game of a back-to-back set, so it is fresh in the players’ minds how it feels to play two in a row.

“It’s the NBA. You can’t make those types of excuses,” said Will Barton, who led the Nuggets with 21 points Saturday night. “Everyone plays the same amount of games. Sometimes you have back-to-back (games) and a lot of games in a lot of nights, so you just have to bring the effort.”

Denver has played well after starting the season 1-3, which included a blown lead in Utah on opening night and a poor home performance against Washington two weeks ago. The offense has picked up, averaging 111.8 points a game over the last six despite scoring just 95 in a one-point win against Miami on Friday night.

The other issue holding down Denver’s scoring is free throws. The Nuggets were 14 of 25 from the line against Miami, and missed foul shots late nearly cost them the game. They improved against Golden State, going 22 of 27 from the line, but their foul-shooting percentage is .718, which ranks 28th in the league.

“That’s something we need to work on,” Denver center Nikola Jokic said. “It’s the easiest shot in the game. The whole team needs to do that better.”

Brooklyn has one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league, trailing just Golden State in that category. The problem for the Nets is stopping other teams. They are last in the league in points per game.

One of the bright spots for Brooklyn is the play of fourth-year guard Spencer Dinwiddie. He scored a career-high 22 against Denver on Oct. 29 and comes into what should be a welcoming atmosphere. Dinwiddie played three seasons at the University of Colorado and helped the Buffaloes return to the NCAA Tournament in his three years there. Since joining the Nets before last season, he has played well.

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