Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Brooklyn Nets [Print without images]

Sunday, February 23, 2014
W2W4: Nets at Lakers

By Mike Mazzeo

History could be made Sunday night at Staples Center, where Jason Collins, signed by the Brooklyn Nets to a 10-day contract, is expected to become the first active openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

Could he start? Yes, he could. Remember, this game against the Los Angeles Lakers is the second half of a back-to-back, so it’s possible that Kevin Garnett will rest. As a result, Collins could move into the starting lineup.

What about the game itself? This is a game Brooklyn (25-28) should win on paper. But basketball isn’t played on paper. Collins making history should provide an emotional lift, but the Lakers like to play at a fast pace, so it’s going to be important for the Nets to dictate tempo.

You know what’s crazy? Deron Williams is 0-18 (including playoffs) against the Lakers at Staples Center as a starter. He appears to have his confidence back following a 20-point, six-assist outing Saturday night in Oakland, so maybe he’ll make it 1-18. The Nets have lost 11 straight to the Lakers.

Also of note: Shaun Livingston may not play because of a bruised tailbone while Marcus Thornton could make his Nets’ debut after missing Saturday’s loss due to food poisoning. And ex-Net MarShon Brooks should be extremely motivated to have a big game against his former team.