The Brooklyn Nets are looking to put together a winning streak on Friday night against the Detroit Pistons. And it looks like they’ll have center Brook Lopez in the lineup following his seven-game absence due to a right foot sprain. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
CAN’T SPELL BROOKLYN WITHOUT BROOK: Since Lopez was injured, the Nets (12-9, 2-5 without him) have been allowing their opponents to score 99.9 points per game and shoot 49.8 percent from the field after allowing just 90.7 points on 44.9 percent shooting through their first 14 games. The move would also mean that Andray Blatche and likely Reggie Evans will be back in their usual bench roles, with Kris Humphries returning to the starting five. Offensively, Lopez (18.5 points per game) allows the Nets to play at a much slower pace, a pace they thrived at playing during the month of November.
HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE? Playing at the Barclays Center hasn’t helped the Nets of late. Brooklyn has lost its last four home games. The Pistons (7-17, 2-11 road) have lost two games in a row, but have been playing much better following their 0-8 start. Greg Monroe (15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Brandon Knight (14.7 ppg, 5.0 apg) are an emerging inside-outside duo. The Nets are 7-1 against sub-.500 teams this season.
HEAD CASE: Deron Williams is averaging just 16.7 points and 8.5 assists on a season-low 38.7 percent shooting. Asked about his shooting woes Friday, D-Will said they’re “mental.” This would be a good night for him to snap out of it. Williams needs to be aggressive and attack the rim, rather than settling for outside shots.