The Brooklyn Nets assembled a pretty spectacular array of talent this season, at least on paper. The results haven't been that great on the court so far, but the Los Angeles Clippers won't even get a look at them on the court. Although all five Brooklyn starters and Andrei Kirilenko have all been All Stars (the starters all within the past two years), four of those six will miss the game tonight, and a fifth is a game time decision. And most of happened in the last 16 hours or so.
Deron Williams turned his ankle in Phoenix last night. He was already a bit gimpy on the ankle, and it's been pretty clear that he'd miss his showdown with Chris Paul since he left the Suns game in the first quarter. Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett banged legs together late in the Suns game -- although there was some confusion about Lopez' status before, he appears to be definitely out at this point. Paul Pierce tweaked a groin muscle last night and is out as well. Andrei Kirilenko missed the game in Phoenix with back spasms and is definitely out. Finally, Garnett may miss the game as well because of the same collision that is keeping Lopez on the sidelines.
Which all seems a bit like the Nets saying "We can't win this game without Williams anyway, let's get some rest and point towards the game in Portland."
Which is all well and good, except that the Clippers have been pretty dreadful against these sorts of injury-depleted teams in recent years. Heck, forget recent years. Bear in mind that it was a group of Laker reserves, some of whom were barely in the NBA or not in the NBA at all six months ago, who completely lit up the Clippers on opening night. This situation has "no-win-situation" written all over it. Win the game and it's just what you were supposed to do; lose and it's a disaster. And this is exactly the kind of game where the Clippers could let their guard down, sleep walk through a half or three quarters, and come up short when they try to wake up. Ick.
At any rate are you ready for a Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, Alan Anderson and Reggie Evans to join Joe Johnson in the Nets starting lineup? With a whole bunch of Mason Plumlee thrown in? The Nets have even put the D-League assignee, Tornike Shengelia on a cross country flight to get him to LA to suit up tonight. He'll be one of 10 Nets in uniform if Garnett sits.
We thought we had really lucked out to get such an exciting game for Clips Nation Night this year -- guess not. Maybe the Nets starters would like to stay late and play in our tournament. They'd fit in well.