The Nets continue their pre-Holiday road trip by hitting one of my favorite American cities in New Orleans to take on the Hornets (16-12) at 8 p.m. tonight. The Nets are looking for their third win in the row, after taking their first road victory since early November. Here are some things to watch for tonight:
Watch NOLA’s Frontcourt. David West and Emeka Okafor may not sound like world beaters on paper, but both are coming of very strong games earlier in the week, including a 32-point barrage from West on Sunday and a 19 point, 15 board game from Okafor on Monday. Despite their injuries, the Nets have retained most of their depth at the PF and C positions, so that should help.
Devin against elite PGs. We’ve seen two sides of Devin Harris this season, playing strong defense in some games and getting torched by Jrue Holiday and Deron Williams. Tonight, we need the good DH as he’s taking on perhaps the best PG in the NBA in Chris Paul. Paul has had two games in the past month where he’s had 4 or less assists, including a game on Monday. The Nets have to find a way to keep Paul out on the perimeter so he can’t create too much for his teammates.
Three makes this a winning streak. The Nets are starting to resemble the competitive NBA team they were at the beginning of this season, rather than the underachieving sloppy mess they became from around late November until about a week ago. Sasha Vujacic has been an absolute godsend off the bench, and Travis Outlaw is starting to find more efficiency as a scorer. This is important because the Nets need every one of these guys to play big to win games, which may be ultimately unsustainable, but could help them sneak up on a few teams in the interim.