Sunday, January 29, 2012
Nets-Raptors pregame notes
By Mike Mazzeo
The Nets will be seeking their third straight victory when they take on the Raptors on Sunday night.
New Jersey started off 4-12, but has won three of its last four games since.
“I feel good about the direction [of our team],” coach Avery Johnson said. “I like our body language. I like the way we are consistently playing better offense, and covering for each other defensively. We’re getting a little bit more physical in the paint at going after what I like to call ‘dirty rebounds.’ Our guards are guarding the first, second and third dribble. I could go on and on, but I do see some improvement in those areas.”
The Nets are 5-8 on the road, but just 2-5 at home.
“We’ve gotta have a little more mojo at home,” Johnson said. “We’ve gotta turn this building into more of a homecourt advantage.”
The Nets are shooting an NBA-worst 38.9 percent at Prudential Center; Deron Williams -- the arena hater himself -- is shooting 35.8 percent in the unfriendly confines.
Still, D-Will has carried the Nets in their season-high two-game winning streak, averaging 30.5 points and 10.5 assists on 50 percent shooting from the floor and the 3-point line.
The Nets are tied with the Knicks in the standings; both teams are 7-13.
“We’ll see. It’ll be better if we beat them in a couple days. It’s still early so what’s going on now doesn’t matter. It’s how you finish,” Williams said. “It’s good that we’re right there because of how bad we started off, and we’re improving so hopefully we can surpass them soon.”
According to the team, the Nets had not won two road games in a row, on the same trip, since 2008-09 when they won three consecutive road games (Sacramento on Nov. 26; Utah on Nov. 29 and Phoenix on Nov. 30).