The Golden State Warriors continue their trip east with the second leg of a back-to-back in New York.
After playing against the Knicks at Maddison Square Garden on Tuesday, the champions head to Brooklyn to face the resurgent Nets.
The Warriors have had a tough time on their travels this season, so they won't be glad to see a Nets side who head into Wednesday night's matchup having put together a brilliant 9-1 run across their last 10 games.
The Nets are up to fourth in the East after that brilliant run, while the defending champions are locked in a Play-in battle in the West.
After a brilliant run, the +1000 Nets are just a shade behind the Warriors in the outright betting, so we should get a great game even in the absence of Steph Curry.
What: GS Warriors @ BKN Nets
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
When: 19:40 ET, Thursday, December 22nd, 2022
How to watch: NBA Pass, NBCAB, BSIN
Odds: GS Warriors , BKN Nets -750
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are proving the doubters wrong at the moment, leading the Nets to a stellar run which has put them in the title picture. The pair are averaging a combined 56 points and that number is likely to grow.
The pair were in red hot form against the Detroit Pistons, with KD hitting 43 points and Kyrie chipping in with 38 in their 124-121 win. It does seem that at the moment the Nets are scoring their way to wins, but considering the firepower they have that's not a bad way to go.
Durant has scored at least 30 points in eight of his last 11 games, with another 45-point haul included in that run. Any doubts about him after his turbulent summer have fallen by the wayside, while Irving is back in the side and focused on helping the team win. The Nets are a scary prospect going forward right now, although the Pistons did show there's a way through their defence.
While the Nets are 15th in terms of defensive ranking in the league, their recent wins over Detroit and the Toronto Raptors were by slender margins, having shipped a combined 137 points against two sides not exactly known for their attacking qualities.
The Nets haven't held a side below 100 in their last 10 games, which isn't a good sign heading into this clash with the Warriors. While Curry remains absent for the champions, Jordan Poole has comfortably stepped into his shoes.
Poole bagged 72 points in his first two games since deputising for Curry, including a career-high 43 against the Raptors. When you consider how the Nets are looking on the defensive end, this could be another big night for the young guard. The scoring threat across the two sides certainly points to an entertaining game.
It's not just the Nets' brilliant form which should worry the champions, as Steve Kerr is yet to get his Warriors side up and running on the road this season. They lost another road trip against the Knicks, which was their 15th loss on their travels already this term. That heavy 132-94 loss doesn't bode well for them given Brooklyn's scoring form.
That number is huge considering that they only lost 29 times across 82 games last year. Golden State certainly aren't going to feature towards the top of the West, while they've struggled in clashes with the East. The Warriors also have a 6-9 record against sides from the East, largely down to their struggles on their away trips so far.
The Nets have a good 10-5 home record, but they head into this game with eight wins from their last nine at the Barclays Center. This team is 17-7 since the departure of Steve Nash as head coach, while they're 12-3 since Kyrie Irving made his return. This run of form looks real, while the Warriors' struggles on the road can't be ignored.
Brooklyn look set to continue their fantastic form, with a win over the Warriors likely to further boost their championship credentials. The visitors' lowly position in the West can't be ignored and even with Poole's brilliance, the absence of Curry is a major factor.