The Nets are at home tonight in the Barclays Center getting ready to take on the Miami Heat. Two teams headed in polar opposite directions. The Nets are 3-7 in their last 10 games and 7.5 games back of the last playoff spot in the east. The Heat are 8-2, currently the #4 seed, and 1 game back of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still in all, an important game for the Nets. They will see the return of their starting point guard D’Angelo Russell who has missed most of the season due to injury, and the continued rotation minutes for big man Jahlil Okafor whom they acquired in a trade from Philadelphia.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson met with the media prior to the game and talked about integrating Russell back into the lineup and the increased workload for Okafor. Russell will be on a minutes restriction but will see time on the floor with Spencer Dinwiddie, who has been starting in his place.
Atkinson also said limiting Whiteside will be key and they will use a three-center rotation as they have all season. With Jarrett Allen, Tyler Zeller and Okafor seeing time against Whiteside. Atkinson made a specific point to call out Okafor’s big frame (260 pounds) as a plus in defending the Heat big man down low.
It will be good for Brooklyn to see what they have with Russell and Okafor, the #2 and #3 picks from the 2015 draft.
See Kenny Atkinson’s full pre-game comments.