Pregame Open Thread: Indiana Pacers vs. New Jersey Nets

After their longest winning streak in the last four seasons, the Nets have now lost three in a row and will be without Deron Williams for the next few weeks. Yesterday’s game was one that the team should have won, after having a double-digit lead against one of the league’s worst teams in the Washington Wizards in the third quarter. But without Williams, the Nets certainly were missing something down the stretch and dropped their third in a row. Tonight they come back to New Jersey to face the Indiana Pacers, who have beaten the Nets seven straight times.

Here are some things to keep an eye on tonight:

Defense. The Nets haven’t played too much of it over the last two games. The Bucks and Wizards both shot over 50 percent and had little trouble scoring. Tonight the Pacers come into town, who have scored an average of 114.5 points per game in two wins against the Nets this season. Indiana plays a fast-paced style, and the Nets will have to try and keep them in the low 90s, especially without Deron, if they’re going to win this game.

Brook without Williams. Brook Lopez has been outstanding over the Nets last five games, shooting over 50 percent in all but one of those games and scoring more than 20 points in every one. But now he will have to adjust to playing without Deron Williams, who Brook seemed to have some instant chemistry with. In the Nets first game without D-Will, Lopez scored 21 points and had 10 boards, but I’ll be interested to see if he can keep it up over the next few weeks.

Attendance at the Rock. During the Nets last three games at the Prudential Center (against the Clippers, Celtics and Bulls) the team had three of their best crowds of the season. But tonight, on a Monday against the Pacers and without their new franchise player, I’d expect the attendance numbers to decline a bit. It was a refreshing sign last week to actually hear people at Nets home games, and it’d be nice if it could continue.