The Brooklyn Nets started this season by winning 17 straight games against sub-.500 teams. But that streak came to an end on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nets will look to begin another one, however, when they take on the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night in the second half of a back-to-back. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
BAD TASTE: The Nets (28-20) shot a season-low 34.8 percent against the Lakers on Tuesday night and weren’t happy losing to a team that was without both Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace. They’ve now dropped four of their last six games. The Nets beat the Pistons (18-31) in double-overtime on Joe Johnson’s buzzer-beater on Dec. 14. But Brooklyn has lost 10 straight road games to Detroit.
AVOIDING A BAD QUARTER: The Nets seem to have one of these a game. On Tuesday night, it was second quarter, a quarter in which they were outscored 31-16 and shot 6-for-23 from the field. Some of their worst quarters of the season? 30-5 (third) in San Antonio; 36-14 (third) against Miami and 32-10 (fourth) against Minnesota. These lapses are one of the things that separates the Nets from being an elite squad.
STEP UP: Johnson and Deron Williams need to play better. In his last six games, Johnson is averaging 12.8 points on 35.9 percent shooting. Since coming down with the flu on Jan. 30, Williams is averaging 11.7 points on 38.2 percent shooting, 5.7 assists and 4.7 turnovers (three games).
O-FFENSIVE: The Nets are averaging just 90.9 points in their last 10 games, reaching the 100-point plateau just once during that span.
DWILL5K: Williams is one assist shy of becoming the 56th player in NBA history to record 5,000 for his career.