The Nets are missing Kevin Durant — a vital part of their offense. Meanwhile, the Warriors will look to get back on track after a long absence from Stephen Curry, who returned to the lineup on Jan. 10.
Let’s take a look at the odds and I’ll give my picks and analysis for the Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors.
The Brooklyn Nets were looking nearly unstoppable before Durant went down with a sprained MCL in a Jan. 8 win against the Miami Heat.
Up until that point, the Nets’ 16-6 record was best in the league since the beginning of December, due in large part to a 12-game win streak.
Unsurprisingly, Durant’s injury has significantly derailed the Nets offense. Role players like T.J. Warren, Cam Thomas and Seth Curry have been unable to replicate anything near the scoring efficiency Durant provided during Brooklyn’s run of dominance.
Prior to Durant’s injury, Brooklyn had the fifth-best Offensive Rating in the league (115.7), according to NBA Advanced Stats.
In the five games since, Brooklyn’s Offensive Rating has plummeted to the bottom of the league (105.8). Only the Detroit Pistons (105.2), have a worse rating in the past five games.
Some notable teams the Nets trail in that metric are the Pacers without Tyrese Haliburton (107.1), the Pelicans without Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson (107.3) and the Phoenix Suns without Chris Paul and Devin Booker (109).
The Warriors have also suffered somewhat from star players missing time. Curry only recently returned from a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for 11 games.
During his absence, the Warriors managed to stay afloat, going 6-5 straight up and 5-5-1 against the spread. Curry’s reintegration into the offense was far from seamless. Surprisingly, the Suns beat the Warriors in Curry’s return and even did so at Chase Center, where Golden State has been dominant this season.
Since then, things have evened out somewhat. The Warriors rank fourth in Offensive Effective Field Goal Percentage in their past five games (58.9%), according to Cleaning the Glass.
On the defensive side, they’ve also played well. The Warriors rank seventh in Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage (53.2%) and have done so by protecting the paint and eliminating 3s, leaving the middle of the court somewhat unprotected.
The Warriors have allowed the fourth-most shots from the midrange (35.8%) in their past five games — something the Nets could exploit as they’ve taken the seventh-most midrange shots in that time frame (35.7%).
Luckily for Golden State, Brooklyn has yet to exploit any defensive weaknesses in the midrange since Durant’s injury. The Nets are shooting just 41.9% from that area, despite the high volume.
I’ll fade the Nets offense here by taking Brooklyn’s team total under. The Nets are averaging just 105.4 points per game in their past five games and they’ve gone under their team total in four of their past five games.
The Warriors are playing solid enough defense since Curry’s return, although they’ve been far from dominant. They’re allowing 119.4 points per game to opponents, but that’s largely been a result of their pace, which should even out at home.
I’ll also play the full game under. Four of the past five Nets games have gone under the total, yet four of the past five Warriors games have gone over.
The missing piece is that those five Warriors games have been on the road, where Golden State is 18-5-1 to the over. At home, that record flips. For whatever reason, the Warriors are much better at controlling the tempo at home. Gameplay slows down and they play at their own pace at Chase Center, where they are 13-9 to the under.
Take the Nets team total under down to 112 and the full game under down to 233.
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