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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Starting Five: Two critical games ahead

By Mike Mazzeo

It could get worse.

The Brooklyn Nets, who have lost three straight and have a 9-18 record, host the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks at home Wednesday and Friday before heading on a daunting three-game road trip.

That trip includes games against the Indiana Pacers (23-5), San Antonio Spurs (22-6) and Oklahoma City Thunder (22-5).

The Nets need victories over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls (10-16) and the bottom-feeding Bucks (6-22), who have the worst record in the NBA.

Brooklyn will practice Tuesday following its 103-86 loss to Indiana. And then the pressure will be on.

No one is expecting much from the Nets on that trip, which is why it’s imperative they win their next two games. Otherwise, it’s going to continue getting uglier and uglier.

Question of the day: How do you feel about this team right now?

In case you missed it: Jason Kidd was critical of his team, Paul Pierce got kicked out of Monday night’s game, and Deron Williams took the blame for his poor play. Also, Ohm Youngmisuk’s column on the gap between the Nets and the Pacers and Miami Heat, which is huge right now.

Stat right? The Nets have given up 30 or more points in the third quarter eight times this season.

Up next: Practice on Tuesday morning. I’ll have you covered.