Nets face first true test vs. Suns

There can only be one true Plumlee. (AP)
There can only be one true Plumlee. (AP)
There can only be one true Plumlee. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets embark on day one of a three-game road trip against three possible playoff teams, taking on the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix at 9 P.M. EST. After six games against underwhelming competition, the Suns represent Brooklyn’s first real test: they’ve already beaten the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, and knocked off the undefeated Golden State Warriors in their last win.

The Suns are a difficult matchup: they’ve got breakout point guard Goran Dragic, along with Isaiah Thomas (who’s been their best player in the early season) and Eric Bledsoe to round out a dangerous frontcourt. Add in the 6’9″ Morris twins, who are as different as Brook & Robin Lopez, and Mason Plumlee’s brother “Sky” Miles, and the Nets could be in for a rough night.

Also, the Suns still have this guy:

The Nets also have some in-house cleaning to do: Joe Johnson lit into his team to reporters Tuesday afternoon, accusing the team of selfishness. They’ve still got some re-integrating to do with Brook Lopez, who has put up some solid scoring numbers but still hasn’t looked wholly comfortable in the team’s offensive and defensive scheme

Prediction: Nets win (kind of)

A brief note on the info above: we’ve started to use a new prediction model concocted by social media contributor Elizabeth Swinton, which takes into account player efficiency rating, days of rest, home-court advantage, and minutes played.

After about two weeks of basketball, the model puts the Nets at a slight favorite to win this one despite the road trip — 51.1% to 48.9%. But here’s some cold water for your optimism: the model doesn’t take into account strength of schedule, and the Nets have put up their high-efficiency marks against low-quality teams, which tipped the scales in their favor.

Tipoff at 9 P.M. EST on YES Network.