Brooklyn Nets: 4 toughest remaining games after the All-Star break

Brooklyn Nets DeMarre Carroll D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets DeMarre Carroll D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
(Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

3. Sunday, March 17: at LA Clippers

This choice may initially raise a few eyebrows given some of the available talent on the board. Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, and Portland are all tougher teams than the Clippers when looking at Brooklyn’s remaining opponents. Arising skepticism is understandable.

Here’s the thing though: Brooklyn’s road matchup with the other team in LA occurs right smack in the middle of the treacherous seven-game road trip.

On Saturday, March 16, Brooklyn will be the underdog away team versus the current sixth-place team in the Western Conference; the Utah Jazz.

One can only assume that the Jazz will wear Brooklyn down with a grinding defense that allows the fourth-fewest points per game according to

The very next night, the Nets head to the Staples Center to face up with a very feisty Clippers team during the second game of a brutal back-to-back.

According to research by Jon Bales of RotoAcademy, when looking at the performance of NBA teams on back-to-backs, teams typically fare the worst when both games are on the road.

According to Bales’ research, a team is expected to win only 32.9 percent of the time in the second game of a road/road back-to-back. Those, obviously, aren’t great odds.

To make matters even worse, Brooklyn is one of the NBA’s worst performing teams in back-to-back games. Their 3-8 record places the Nets in the bottom third of the league in this statistical category.

In a way, this is indicative of just how hard the Nets play. For better or for worse, Brooklyn is the sum of its parts. Its roster is assembled with a multitude of high-quality role-players; any of whom can pop-off for 20 points on a given night.

Because the Nets rely almost entirely on a well-rounded team effort, they tend to struggle when dealing with fatigue. Brooklyn does not have a bona fide star to drag the team out of the mud when faced with adversity.

With every game, D’Angelo Russell looks to be growing into that role. But even he struggles with the spotlight. It took him seven full quarters (including three overtime periods) to realize he was the best player on the floor against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

The second away game on a back-to-back is perhaps the most grueling type of contest during the regular season. There’s a reason that games like this are referred to as “schedule losses.”

Brooklyn has participated in three games this season that occurred on the back end of road/road back-to-backs. Unsurprisingly, they lost all three contests (Nov. 21 at Dallas, Dec. 29 at Milwaukee, and Jan. 7 at Boston).

Even after dealing their star, the Clippers are by no means an easy out. Now that Tobias Harris is out of the fold, the perennial overachiever Lou Williams has stepped in his place.

In the four games without Tobias, the two-time Sixth Man of the Year has averaged 25 points on 51.5/40/86.7 shooting splits. Williams’ impressive run was highlighted by a 45-point outing against the porous Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Nets don’t have any above-average defenders to guard a crafty, score-first guard like Williams. In fact, the only player who might be capable of doing so is Caris LeVert — who is still acclimating to the pace of the game following his devastating injury.

The Clippers will likely be playing at 100 percent. On Friday, March 15th, Los Angeles will play the Zion Williamson-hungry Chicago Bulls on their home Staples Center floor. They will then have a full day of rest before hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Yeah, talk about a favorable schedule.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn will be the away team in the toughest game of their most taxing stretch of the season.