After holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings for the majority of this young NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets have slipped down to second place after dropping their last two games.
Their last loss against the Los Angeles Clippers was perhaps one of their worst of the season. The Clippers were without their dynamic duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard due to injury in addition to their head coach Tyronn Lue who has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Despite being undermanned the Clippers still managed to beat the Nets 120-116 on Saturday.
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Steve Nash Could Tinker With Big Man Lineup for Nets
The Nets have had to deal with their fair share of absences this season as well. Either because players are out with injuries, have entered health and safety protocols, or are simply unvaccinated. As a result, Nets head coach Steve Nash has had to tinker with several variations of lineups. Brian Lewis of the “New York Post” reports that a big man lineup that features Nets young big man Nicolas Claxton and 7-time NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge could be used more often.
“Of all the different rotation permutations the Nets have been forced to use this season due to injuries and COVID-19 issues, coach Steve Nash hadn’t tried employing a big lineup featuring centers LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton as a starting tandem until Thursday night,” Lewis writes via the “New York Post”.
“The first-place Nets lost that game to Joel Embiid and the 76ers to halt a four-game winning streak, but the experiment to play Aldridge and Claxton together could be something Nash revisits, depending on future matchups.”
Claxton Open To Playing Alongside Another Big Man
After being demoted to the Nets’ G-League affiliate earlier this season, Claxton has come on strong during Brooklyn’s recent stretch of games. While a lineup featuring two big men might be unusual for Brooklyn, it’s something that Claxton is keeping an open mind about.
“That was really my first time being out there with LA [Aldridge]. We’ll definitely adjust to it once we get more reps in. Hopefully, we go to it a lot in the near future. The biggest adjustment is just having another big on the court,” Claxton said after the loss to the Sixers per Brian Lewis of the “New York Post”.
“I played with BG [Blake Griffin] earlier in the year, too. It’s a little different, but I just have to play my game. LA stretches the floor, and he can adjust pretty easily. At the end of the day, we’re all basketball players, so we just go out there, and when you have a feel for the game, things are pretty easy.”
Claxton Sounds off on His Recent Stretch of Play
Coming into the Nets matchup with the Clippers on Saturday Claxton was averaging 14.0 points on 71.7 percent shooting with 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots over the Nets’ last five games per the “New York Post”. In the Nets’ loss to Los Angeles, he registered another double-double notching 13 points and 10 rebounds. Claxton is starting to find his groove and he knows it.
“You can see that I’m catching a pretty good stride right now, and I’m feeling good. It’s been different minutes because this is my first time, I think playing over 30 minutes, but I love it,” Claxton told reporters per the “New York Post”.
“It’s a good challenge for me. Just having to mentally lock in when you get a little tired, and having to stay focused. It’s a challenge, but I’m definitely happy to take advantage of it.”
One area where a big man lineup would help the Nets is their team rebounding. They currently rank just 12th in the NBA in rebounds per game at 53.6 per game.