The Nets front office is trying a new marketing slogan for tonight's game, "10 is enough." While most Nets would agree that losing the first 10 games of the season is enough, it has also been understandable. No team is going to win very many games when 4 out of your 5 starters are hurt.
Which brings us to tonight's game against the Pacers. The question is whether or not the Nets have enough fire power to defeat a Pacers team that just beat Boston. On paper, the answer appears to be no. Here is a rundown of the key match ups for the game.
T.J. Ford vs. Rafer Alston
This is in many ways a mirror match up. Both players handle the ball very well and have played for winning teams. Both are excellent passers with average jump shots. Both will knock it down when left open and have trouble with a defender in their face because both are on the small side. However, both have the ability to make the circus shot in the paint on drives to the basket. In many ways, this match up is a push. Where the Nets lose is in the backups. The Pacers can go to Earl Watson, an established backup while the Nets have to use a SF in Terrence Williams. So, this edge goes to Indiana.
Brandon Rush & Dahntay Jones vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts & Terrence Williams
CDR can score and is developing the rest of his game. His is really a SF who can play guard. However, Courtney Lee and Keyon Dooling were the starter and backup and neither is available. So, CDR gets to play guard. The good news is that Jones is primarily a defender and Rush is primarily a spot up shooter. As such, neither is likely to expose CDR's lack of lateral quickness at the guard position. Williams can provide some minutes here, but he is a poor shooter and is also a SF by nature. This match up favors the Nets.
Danny Granger vs. Trenton Hassell & Bobby Simmons
Hassell and Simmons are nice role players who play good defense. Danny Granger is one of the best scorers in the NBA and a rising superstar. This match up is not even close and a huge reason why the Pacers will probably win. Hassell and Simmons will have to play the games of their lives and Granger would have to be off for the Nets to win.
Troy Murphy & Tyler Hansborough vs. Sean Williams & Eduardo Najera
The Pacers power forwards are excellent rebounders. Murphy is a great shooter and Hansborough plays to contact. Najera is a smart player who can shoot and moves well without the ball. However, he is short and limited athletically. Sean Williams is a great athlete. He is tall with long arms. He is an instinctive shot blocker and decent rebounder. However, he cannot shoot the ball. He is a garbage man on offense. When he plays with effort, he is a good player. If the effort is lacking, he hinders the team. If the good Sean Williams shows up, then the Nets can compete because he dramatically improves the team defense with his shot blocking ability. If not, then the Pacers have a huge advantage.
Roy Hibbert & Jeff Foster vs. Brook Lopez & Josh Boone
Hibbert is big and strong. He is a good shot blocker and positions his body well on defense. He is limited on offense. Foster is a hustle player who is an excellent offensive rebounder because he never stops moving on offense. Josh Boone is the Nets version of Jeff Foster except that Foster can do more on offense.
However, Brook Lopez is a rising star. His offensive game is rapidly developing. Just last week, I wrote that he needed to develop a move where he turns over his right shoulder. Against Miami, he used a drop step move over the right shoulder several times to get a clean look at the basket. Hibbert will be a tough test because Hibbert is so strong, but he does not have the quickness to stay with Lopez. For the Nets to win, Lopez has to have a huge game. This match up goes to the Nets.
Overall, the Nets just do not have enough firepower with all of the injuries to be able to play with a team like the Pacers for 48 minutes. The Pacers are on a roll, having won their last four games. Plus, they have a truly dynamic scorer in Danny Granger with quality role players in Murphy and Ford. With Douglas-Roberts still getting his strength back after having the swine flu, the Nets just do not have a perimeter scorer to open up the middle for Lopez. The Pacers should win tonight.