Tuesday, February 26, 2013
W2W4: Nets at Hornets
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets will look to snap a two-game losing streak on Tuesday night in New Orleans, when they take on the Hornets for the first time this season.
Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.; here's what we'll be watching for:
WILL JOE BE A GO? Joe Johnson is a game-time decision. He has missed the past two games due to a sore left heel. The Nets (33-24) have gone 0-2 without him, struggling to score late in the fourth quarter without their go-to guy down the stretch. C.J. Watson will presumably start if Johnson doesn't play. Watson has scored in double digits in each of the past five games, averaging 16.2 points over that span.
WILL BROOK PLAY IN THE FOURTH? Brook Lopez has essentially been benched in three of the four fourth quarters the Nets have played since the All-Star break. Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo says he's not going to do it again, but Carlesimo has said that before. Lopez has handled it like a pro, but he has struggled since appearing in his first All-Star Game, averaging just 16 points on 41 percent shooting.
The Nets need Lopez to play and play well late in games. Time for Carlesimo to give him another chance and let him get his confidence back.
Lopez, by the way, will face his twin brother, Robin, in Tuesday's game.
WILL CRASH FIND HIS GAME? Gerald Wallace has missed all seven of his 3-point attempts since the All-Star break and is shooting just 28.1 percent from the field over that span. Carlesimo is confident that Wallace will be able to shoot his way out of that slump. Wallace has scored in double figures just three times in his past 20 games.
WILL D-WILL KEEP IT GOING? Deron Williams is averaging 20.3 points and 8.5 assists since the All-Star break on 44.3 percent shooting -- including 52 percent from 3-point range. On Sunday night, Williams was aggressive in the fourth quarter against Memphis, scoring eight points. He suffered a left calf contusion late in that game. How will that affect him if at all? Will Carlesimo continue to play him 40 minutes a night?
OF NOTE: The Nets have lost four straight in New Orleans. The Nets will get their first look at Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. He is coming off a 20-point, eight-rebound effort on Sunday night.