The Nets have lost six straight by an average margin of 11 points per game, and are now down an extra (E) small forward. I’ll spare you the rest.
Joining Sandy and Chris for our pregame 3-on-3 is Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm, CBS Sports, and NBC Pro Basketball Talk.
1. Going right: How can the Nets emerge victorious?
- Sandy Dover: The Nets can win (*sigh*) if they play good team defense in the paint and perimeter, and if the guards can shoot well. Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay are treacherous obstacles for New Jersey, because of their ability to slash and score (Gay), and paint-pound and score (Gasol).
- Chris Hooker: Two answers: first, the Nets need their two best players to be the two best guys on the floor tonight for them to win. I’m talking about Deron Williams and Kris Humphries. Memphis has a lot of depth at the guard position in Conley, Allen and Mayo and the New Jersey’s D-Will-led guard rotation needs to play quick to beat them. D-Will and Morrow have chemistry and they’ll have to get that working tonight after some time off.
Second, DeShawn Stevenson and MarShon Brooks need to come back and be factors tonight. Sorry, on an eight-win team, you aren’t allowed a grace period for rust. Stevenson needs to bring his signature D on Gay all night and Brooks needs to create his shot and be instant offense like he was before his toe injury.
- Matt Moore: Get shots to fall. The Grizzlies offense has been a mess this year and on a back-to-back, the Nets can run away from them if they knock down some shots. Morrow needs to have a big game.
2. Going wrong: How will the Nets lose this one?
- Sandy Dover: If the Nets don’t defend and if Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow don’t score, the game is over. It’s that easy to say for the Nets these days. Sadly.
- Chris Hooker: The Nets will lose if they play like the Nets. Even with Z-Bo out of the lineup, the Grizzlies are a better team and the Nets strugglers. We’ve now learned that even if D-Will plays at an A+ level, he’s practically alone. Having DeShawn and Brooks back will be helpful, but the Nets have not shown any signs of being a team good enough to beat Memphis these past few weeks.
- Matt Moore: By being the Nets. They’re a terrible team, all the way through. Memphis has struggled with them, though. The Grizzlies are more talented, and based on actual ability to play basketball, they should blow them out. So naturally…
3. And the winner is…
- Sandy Dover: The winner is Memphis…they have all of their parts intact and a stronger lineup overall. And the Nets are at home, not a sterling environment for the red-white-and-blue.
- Chris Hooker: You know what, I’m picking New Jersey. The Nets have to break out of their losing streak sometime, and they’re coming off a few days rest with some healed knees and toes. Plus, they don’t have to give Shawne Williams any playing time. They can keep this one close, and Kris Humphries can match up well in the paint against Gasol. Memphis is clearly the better team now, but I think New Jersey matches up decently against them. Call me a homer, I don’t care. Nets 98, Grizz 95.
- Matt Moore: The Nets. I’ve seen this script before. There’s absolutely no reason Memphis shouldn’t win comfortably and those are the games they play the worst in.