The Brooklyn Nets are 3-1 through the start of their play in the NBA preseason and have looked every bit like they could meet the enormous expectations they brought on themselves with their moves and chatter this off-season. Both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have played solidly with their new team thus far, along with Brook Lopez showing continued development as an offensive player.
On Thursday night, the Nets will face off with the defending champion Miami Heat in a matchup that could be a preview of a series in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. However, it won’t be much of a preview at all as Brooklyn will be quite short-handed for the matchup on Thursday.
Point guard Deron Williams, as expected and as has been the case through the first four games, will be out to continue healing from a sprained ankle. However, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry, Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengalia will also not be in the lineup on Thursday to face the Heat.
Obviously this is the preseason where teams are going to be cautious with injuries, no matter how minor they are, to ensure that their players are healthy for the regular season. Subsequently, these five players, all of whom will almost surely make the team’s final roster, sitting out isn’t that big of a deal.
The only interesting part is that it will once again give Shaun Livingston more run as the Nets’ point guard. Livingston has had an impressive preseason showing this season, which could be a huge plus for the Nets if it translates to the regular season. Ultimately, though, Livingston playing big minutes is a sign that this matchup is a preseason game that holds little meaning for the long-haul.