Brooklyn is favored by 6.5 points at home over Golden State
What a difference a year can make, huh? At this time in 2019, the Golden State Warriors were the reigning NBA Champions and had a record of 36-15. It would be another hallmark season for the Warriors as they would end up taking the top spot in the Western Conference on their way to a fifth straight appearance in the NBA Finals. Unfortunately though, injuries would derail not only that season but this season as well. Fast-forward to 2020, and it is clear that this season is hopless for Golden State. The Warriors currently have a 12-39 record. Not only is that the worst record in the Western Conference, but it is the worst record in the entire NBA!
As I mentioned before, injuries have been the root cause of Golden State’s struggle this season. It began back in Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals when Klay Thompson tore his ACL. That devastating injury ended his season and pretty much any hope for him to make an appearance in a Warriors’ uniform this year. It is believed that Thompson will not play at all in the 2019-2020 season after he successfully underwent knee surgery back in July. From there, things only got worse for the Warriors. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player on the planet, decided to leave Golden State and was whisked away in a sign-and-trade deal that ended up sending him to the Brooklyn Nets ironically enough. Once the 2019-2020 regular season began, things would only become more difficult for the Warriors. Back in October, right as the season was starting to kick into full gear, Golden State lost Steph Curry to a broken hand injury that has sidelined him since. So now, the Warriors look like a shell of their former selves with both Splash Brothers missing significant time and the absence of Kevin Durant. The injury to Curry basically destroyed any hope for Golden State this season. The Warriors have gone a putrid 11-36 since Curry’s injury on October 30th. At this point, the season is a completely lost cause, so it does not make sense for the two-time MVP to make a return this year. Curry is a fierce competitor though, so it would not be the most shocking thing in the world if he does end up playing some games later on in the season.
This will not be a runaway game for the Nets in my opinion. I think the Warriors will be competitive, but Brooklyn will most likely win this game. I do have some concerns about this Brooklyn team without Kyrie Irving, but they have managed to get by fairly unscathed in games he hasn’t played this season. In the end, I think things balance themselves out because Golden State will also be missing their all-star point guard. It’s really going to come down to the other players on both these teams stepping up in the absence of the match-up’s two biggest superstars.
The Warriors are underwhelming on both offense and defense. Golden State has the 22nd ranked scoring defense in the NBA, allowing opponents to put up 114.4 points per game. Somehow though, the offense is even worse! The Warriors’ 106.5 points per game is the sixth worst average in the league. Furthermore, when the Warriors lose, they lose badly. They have an average point differential of -7.8, which means that Golden State is being outscored by almost eight points per game every time they play. That is the 3rd worst mark in the NBA. Statistics show that this team has underperformed in all phases of the game for most of the year.
So what have the Warriors been doing well, you ask? Well, it’s hard to come across bright spots when you are the worst team in the NBA. One positive has been the trade for D’Angelo Russell. The 2019 all-star has been serviceable filling in for the Splash Brothers as he averages 23.8 points per game, which leads the team. However, another downside has been the decline of Draymond Green. After being a triple-double machine the last few years, his numbers have dropped off severely in the absence of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. The three-time all-star is averaging the fewest points, assists, and rebounds since 2013-14, his second year in the league. Aside from D’Angelo Russell, who is posting a career high in points per game, this has essentially been a lost season for Golden State.
Meanwhile, the Nets are beginning to surge at the right time. Brooklyn has won four of its last six games, both with and without the presence of Kyrie Irving, the team’s best player. The Nets were able to snag a 22-point victory over the Suns last time out, and they didn’t even have Kyrie playing in that game. Kyrie is expected to be out again in this one, but I am not worried about Brooklyn. Spencer Dinwiddie has certainly stepped up in Kyrie’s absence. The former second round pick out of Colorado has been averaging almost 20 points per game in his last ten while shooting the ball over 41% from beyond the arc. Surprisingly though, the Warriors are on a little bit of a hot streak themselves after winning their last two games. However, those wins came against the lowly Wizards and Cavaliers. I expect the Nets to put up a much better fight than those two Eastern conference bottom-feeders. I think Brooklyn will just barely cover the 6.5 points spread, but they will end up taking care of business against the NBA’s worst team.