Tip Off: 4:00 PM (PST)

Projected Starters

New Jersey                                                                   Golden State

PG – Deron Williams                                                Charles Jenkins

SG –  Anthony Morrow                                             Monta Ellis

SF –  MarShon Brooks                                               Dorell Wright

PF – Kris Humphries                                                David Lee

C –    Mehmet Okur                                                    Andris Biedrins

Scope the opposition: Get your Nets fix at Nets Are Scorching.

Preview: The Golden State Warriors (5-8) will conclude their four-game eastern road swing tonight when they take on the New Jersey Nets (3-11) at the Prudential Center. The Dubs are coming off a win in Cleveland while the Nets will try to rebound from a defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The New Jersey Nets will come into the contest with a mediocre offense as evidenced by their 98.9 offensive efficiency rating (19th in the NBA) and 41 percent field goal percentage (28th in the league) on the season.

The Nets are an obscure team given their roster and record, thus it’s easy to forget that they have one of the best point guard’s in the league in Deron Williams.

For all of the talk about Dwight Howard having his head out the door, Deron seems to be discouraged by the talent around him and may be looking forward to free agency more than the Magic superstar. Make no mistake, he is an accomplished playmaker that finds ways to get his teammates the ball based on how defenses are playing his team.

He will run some pick-and-rolls as well as some pick-and-pops with Mehmet Okur to get him going and also try to go to his perimeter players to get them some easy scoring opportunities. But for all of his talents, the players around him just do not fit. Okur is a big man that likes to drift to the perimeter while Anthony Morrow is deadly shooter that does little else to contribute on offense.

Thankfully for Nets fans, MarShon Brooks looks like quite a keeper for New Jersey. The rookie takes good shots and consequently has a good field goal percentage and does little to hinder the good functioning of his team’s offense. Unfortunately for Nets fans, the same cannot be said about his teammates.

The absence of Brook Lopez has changed the role of some players and turned some hustle guys into scorers given the need for some scoring punch. Consequently, the wrong guys (but there isn’t anybody else either) are getting the bulk of the shots.

As bad as Jersey is on offense, one can easily make the case that they are worse on defense. At 109.9, the Nets sport the worst defensive efficiency rating in the NBA and they also surrender a league worst 49.3 percent field goal shooting.

Put it this way: the worst offense in the association suddenly morphs into a seemingly high octane scoring team capable of lighting up the scoreboard when matched up against the Nets.

Indeed, this Avery Johnson led squad does a poor job of getting back on defense, which explains the 15.4 fast break points surrendered every game (24th in the NBA). But of greater concern, the Nets players do a horrendous job of rotating on defense, especially in the pick-and-roll action. The end result is that teams can come barging in down the lane and not see much resistance when doing so.

New Jersey essentially rolls out the red carpet for their opponents and escorts them to the basket to the tune of 42 points in the paint per game (24th in the league).

The Warriors have had success as of late by dumping the ball into David Lee on the block and letting him operate for baskets and will probably try to have him do so against Kris Humphries.

In addition, Mark Jackson is sure to attack the slow-footed Mehmet Okur in the pick-and-roll with Monta Ellis and then watch him attack the lane for high percentage shots right at the basket. As Monta spends time hanging inside the paint, Warriors shooters should get an opportunity to make open shots from deep.

Worth noting: there won’t be any Rapid Reactions following the game against the Nets tonight.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].