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Saturday, January 26, 2013
W2W4: Nets at Rockets

By Mike Mazzeo

The Nets were embarrassed in Memphis on Friday. They’ll try to turn it around on Saturday in Houston. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

REBOUNDING: The Nets were pummeled by the Grizzlies, 101-77. They shot 40.8 percent from the field, 3-for-17 from 3-point range and allowed 62 points in the paint. The Rockets (23-22) have lost eight of their past 10 games. Houston loves to get up and down the court, averaging 104.1 points per game, while allowing 102.8. It’ll be interesting to see if Brooklyn (26-17) can keep up, or will be able to slow the game down to a more preferable mostly half-court pace.

BATTLE OF THE BACKCOURTS: Deron Williams and Joe Johnson versus Jeremy Lin and James Harden -- this should be fun. “Linsanity” was spawned against D-Will and the Nets last season. Williams didn’t forget, then went out and dropped 38 on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. He probably won’t have as much of a chip on his shoulder this time around, but will certainly want to play well against Lin.

Harden, Houston’s marquee offseason acquisition, is averaging 25.9 points per game. Lin is averaging 12 points, 6 assists and 3.8 rebounds. Williams suffered a left quadriceps contusion Friday, but is expected to play. Johnson has averaged 21.6 points in his past eight games against the Rockets (all with the Hawks), according to STATS LLC.

STOPPING THE STREAK: The Rockets have beaten the Nets 11 straight times -- averaging 107.6 points in these wins, according to STATS LLC. Brooklyn would like to end that streak and finish off a 3-1 road-trip before heading home to the Barclays Center to begin a four-game homestand.