Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ Golden State Warriors

In a Monday afternoon game (4 PM EST, 1 PM PST), the Nets take on the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. The Warriors are 16-23 and boast a “big three” of Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, and ex-Knick David Lee. They also trot out the favorite for Most Improved Player of the Year in Dorrell Wright. The Warriors are fresh off a 122-112 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Nets are mired in a five-game losing funk (“streak” doesn’t seem strong enough here). Anthony Morrow will be in town but will not play against his former team.

Here are a few things to look out for in today’s game:

Shake off the Melo-stink. It’s patently obvious that the apparent need for one man to change locations has had a huge effect on the basketball product. The Nets have looked lost & disinterested for the past few games, and if not for a fluke Sasha Vujacic flip-in against Chicago they’d have an eleven-game losing streak. If the Nets can focus on basketball and not Carmelo Anthony against a decent-but-beatable team, they’ll stand a much better chance to leave the West Coast with one victory.

Keep feeding the big man. Brook Lopez has returned to offensive form in these last two games, lighting up the Lakers and Blazers for a combined 67 points on 22-38 shooting. The Lakers & Blazers trot out Andrew Bynum & Marcus Camby as their starting centers, the Warriors put out David Lee & Andris Biedrins. If he plays to the same level today, Brook’s career high of 37 points is in play.

The battle for pace. This happens often with the Nets, since they’re one of the slowest teams in the league. As most of us know, the Warriors are run-n-gun, and the numbers prove it – they’re fourth in the league in possessions per game. If the Nets can limit them to a half-court offense and prevent the open looks in transition that the Warriors get so often, they highly increase their chances of getting a W.

For more info on the Golden State Warriors, check out TrueHoop affiliate WarriorsWorld.