On one end is a team with lofty expectations and championship aspirations; on the other is a team gunning for a decent finish.
The Nets, currently sitting in second place in the East, have been under the microscope since Day 1.
While the championship-or-bust buzz escalated with every new pick-up—from James Harden to Blake Griffin—the Nets kept their head down and tinkered, calibrating different lineups that would maximize their roster.
The big games from the big names are a given, but what’s making Brooklyn a big problem to the league is what they’re getting from Joe Harris, Jeff Green, Bruce Brown, Nic Claxton, Alize Johnson, and the rest of the supporting cast.
With one of their prized vets, LaMarcus Aldridge, retiring from the game due to a heart condition, the others will have to fill in the gap, most especially since the Big 3 of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving can’t seem to stay on the court together for long periods. At least not yet.
That’s the same predicament the current eighth-place Hornets are in.
After a promising first half of the season brimming with potential, Charlotte’s rise was pulled back by injuries. April, in particular, has been terrible. Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball, and Malik Monk have all missed a big chunk of games, resulting in eight losses in 10 games.
Coming into the matchup against Brooklyn (7:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines and NBA.Smart), Charlotte is desperately trying to stop the bleeding. If only Miles Bridges and Caleb Martin posters are worth 10 points each.
The Nets are also coming off a loss versus the mighty Philadelphia 76ers, but are still heavily favored to win this one. However, if the Hornets are able to figure out how to stay afloat via electrifying highlights and Terry Rozier’s ticking time bomb of an explosive game, we’re set for an exciting one.