Back when they first released the Nets schedule for the upcoming season, Sebastian did a fine job breaking down how he thought the team would fare in their first 20 games. But wait a second, there’s 62 games left on the schedule? How are the Nets going to do? Well, I’m going to unscientifically break down the next 20 and my colleagues here at NAS will take a crack at the remaining 42 in the near future (so stay tuned).
Anyway, Sebastian had the Nets at a solid 9-11 after their first 20. That takes us to:
December 5 vs Boston
I know the Nets were able to shock the Celtics on the road last year, but there was just something flukey about that game, and the Celtics have otherwise owned the Nets since the Big Three came to town. My guess is the Nets keep it close early, but the Celtics use their assortment of big bodies to neutralize Brook Lopez in the second half and Rajon Rondo carries the team on his back down the stretch. 9-12.
December 7 @ Atlanta
The Nets mix with Atlanta about as well as tuna fish and chocolate sauce. After being beaten down by Boston’s defense two nights earlier, Atlanta cruises to an easy victory. 9-13.
December 9 @ Dallas
The schedule turns one notch harder from here. It’s Avery Johnson’s return and remember Devin Harris always like to show up his old team. But even with Dallas finding ways to fall short in the post-season, they’re always good to go in the regular season, and I don’t see them letting their guard down against their former coach. 9-14.
December 12 vs Los Angeles Lakers
After a tough two game road-trip, the Nets come home for the defending champions. The Nets played the Lakers well for a half last year in NJ. I can see the same thing happening here, but at the end, that team just has too many weapons on both ends of the floor. 9-15.
December 14 vs Philadelphia
Here’s one way to pull this team out of its slide. For whatever reason, the Nets were never able to beat the Sixers last year, but I think they have enough weapons shooting-wise to pull those kinds of close games out now. The losing streak ends here. 10-15.
December 16 vs Washington
Another team the Nets never beat but should have last season. I think the Nets are better prepared for the Earl Boykins and Andray Blatche’s of the world now, but I have this gut that John Wall terrorizes Devin Harris in their first match-up. Oh, and then there’s the “Yi Player.” 10-16.
December 17 @ Toronto
It’s a depleted Raptors team, but it’s an away game on the backend of a back-to-back, so I give the advantage to the home team. 10-17.
December 19 vs Atlanta
It’s the third time against the Hawks in the span of a month. Unlike last year, where the Nets would generally lay down against a team that previously smacked them around, I see Avery Johnson prepping them better this time around. The Nets win off an Anthony Morrow three and some free throws from Devin Harris. 11-17.
December 21 @ Memphis
Memphis was another team that the Nets played well for stretches last year but then collapsed. I could see them eeking a win out at home, but I’ll give the Grizz the advantage on the road. 11-18.
December 22 @ New Orleans
Will Chris Paul be with NOLA at this point? Who knows, but I can guarantee that with Yi gone, the Nets can come up with some better answers to defend David West. Back-to-backs on the road make me nervous, but the Nets played NOLA pretty well last year, so I’ll give them win no. 12. 12-18.
December 27 vs Orlando.
The Nets get a big layover and then have a top opponent on their schedule. Do they come out flat? I generally like how the Nets match-up with the Magic, especially now that they’ve imported so many shooters to spread the floor meaning there’s going to be lots of one-on-one between Brook and Dwight Howard. The Nets get a big win here, and gain a few believers in the process. 13-18.
December 29 @ Oklahoma City
The Thunder remind us of why it’s important to be patient when following a young team. Of course, the Nets don’t have anyone on the level of Kevin Durant, but I expect a fun game here that ends with OKC by 10. 13-19.
December 31 @ Chicago
Despite the Nets playing the Bulls well last year, I don’t trust that it’s going to be a favorable match-up this year. I’m sensing a big game from Carlos Boozer and who knows, maybe Melo is in a Bulls jersey by this point. 13-20.
January 1 @ Minnesota
Happy New Year! It’s the worst team in basketball. The Nets avenge their shocking opening night loss from last year and put the T’Wolves in their proper place. 14-20.
January 5 vs Chicago
Remember what I said two games ago about the Bulls? Doesn’t mean the Nets can’t hang with the Bulls. And I do think the Nets have a shot at the 8th seed this season, which means they have to win games against other playoff teams from time to time. So the team benefits from a few days off and eeks something out. 15-20.
January 7 @ Washington
After getting torched by John Wall last month, the Nets find a way to stop him in DC, while Yi goes 2-14 with 4 turnovers. 16-20.
January 8 vs Milwaukee
The Nets come home for the second half of their back-to-back and run into a brick wall named Brandon Jennings. However, I do suspect CDR says something silly and cryptic about systems to Fred Kerber in the locker room. 16-21.
January 12 @ Phoenix
It’s the start of the historically murderous road trip for the Nets. Brook and Robin Lopez will provide comedy and entertainment, while I wonder if the Nets have enough firepower to take out the Amare-less Suns. You know what? Sure they do. 17-21.
January 14 @ Lakers
But the Lakers bring the Nets back down to earth after their big road win in Arizona. 17-22.
January 15 @ Potland
Maybe we’ll have a Greg Oden sighting? Travis Outlaw has a big game, but the Nets are starting to wear down at this point of the road trip and Portland prevails. 17-23.
So after 40 games, the Nets are 17-23. That was a rough stretch of games, but it gets better from here.