NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets will try to put together their first winning streak of the season when they face the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night at Barclays Center in the second half of a back-to-back. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
BUILDING MOMENTUM: The Nets (4-10) snapped a five-game losing skid in Toronto Tuesday night. Andray Blatche led a balanced Brooklyn attack, scoring 24 points. Joe Johnson added 21, and is averaging 27.5 points in his last two games. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who have struggled since being traded to the Nets, combined for 28 points -- the most they’ve combined for in any game this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Brooklyn’s bench also stepped up, with Tyshawn Taylor, Mason Plumlee and Alan Anderson playing big minutes. Given all the adversity the team has faced so early in the season, it was important to get back on the winning track. Now, it’s time for the Nets to string a couple victories together.
WHO’S IN? Will Deron Williams (ankle, five of six), Brook Lopez (ankle, six straight), Andrei Kirilenko (back, nine straight) or Jason Terry (knee, three straight) come back Wednesday night? The Lakers will be without Kobe Bryant, who is still “weeks” away from returning. Certainly takes the buzz out of this one.
THE LAKE SHOW: It’s been an up-and-down season thus far for L.A. (7-8). The Lakers lost to the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. They obviously play a fast-paced style under former New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni -- and they can go 10-11 deep. One L.A. player you may know is ex-Net Jordan Farmer, who has played quite well in the backup point guard role. The Lakers are pretty much a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency, so their near-.500 record comes as no surprise.