Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ Los Angeles Clippers

Tonight, the Nets kick off their four-game road trip against the 1-9 Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets are playing the Clippers for the first time this season, and they’ll do it without Terrence Williams, who is still injured. Chris Kaman & Baron Davis are both out for the Clippers with knee & ankle injuries, and Randy Foye is also questionable. The Nets are hoping to kick off this road trip with a victory, and the Clippers are the perfect team to do that against.

Here are a few things to look out for:

Winning one out west. The Nets have dropped 23 consecutive games when visiting Western Conference teams, and this game provides an excellent opportunity to snap that streak. The Clippers have looked terrible in their first ten games and are not a formidable opponent. Hopefully the Nets are able to take advantage and move past that ugly streak.

The power forward battle. Pseudo-rookie and #1 draft pick of 2009 Blake Griffin is already the best player on the depleted Clippers roster, and he’ll be looking to have a big game against a questionable rotation of Kris Humphries, Troy Murphy, and Derrick Favors. I’d really like to see a lot of matchups between Griffin and Favors down low – Griffin’s a good offensive player, but Favors is taller (& longer – Blake’s wingspan was measured at a surprisingly small 6’11.25″ compared to Favors’s 7’4″) and should be able to deter a lot of his shots. Besides, who doesn’t want to see a rookie matchup between these two?

Continued dominance by Devin Harris. Harris has played excellent ball to start the season, but I’m worried that some of it is fluky. After shooting around 42% in his career from 10-15 feet and 39% from 16-23, he’s now shooting 61.5% and 57% from those two spots, respectively. That’s almost assuredly an aberration and not a trend – it’s just too drastic of a jump. He’s certainly been picking his shots well from those ranges, but I hope he doesn’t start to fall back on them exclusively. He needs to be slashing to the rim & looking for shots, contact, and open shooters surrounding the perimeter.

For more coverage of the Los Angeles Clippers, check out ESPN’s TrueHoop affiliate ClipperBlog.