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.