Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets vs. Indiana Pacers

The last time the Nets played the Pacers it was one of the uglier games all season. After a strong home stand the Nets went to Indiana and got run out of the building. They didn’t compete particularly hard in that game and since then they’ve lost 3 of 4, with the only win coming in an inspired effort against Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets. Since that game Monday night, the team has lost convincingly to the Sixers and Pistons, two teams that are frankly not very good. 

Here are some things to keep an eye on for this Super Bowl Day matinee at The Rock:

Slowing Down Indiana. Since the Pacers fired Jim O’Brien they’ve won three in a row and have been playing very well on the offensive end. Indiana is averaging 107 points per game in their last three and trying to slow them down will be critical for the Nets this afternoon. 9 days ago the Pacers dropped 124 on the Nets and made it look easy. Some defensive integrity from the team, especially at home, would be nice to see.

Consistency from the Starters. The Nets have none. One game Devin Harris makes 5 of 8 shots and scores 16 points and the next he only takes 6 shots and scores 9 points. The same inconsistency can be said for every Nets starter and they have all been very erratic all season. I do like that Avery Johnson has re-inserted Anthony Morrow into the starting lineup, and he was one guy that had a strong game in Detroit the other night. But it needs to continue today against Indiana.

Hump and The Machine. Kris Humphries and Sasha Vujacic have easily been the Nets two top bench performers and it’s hard to argue with their production over the past month. Because of the inconsistency of the starting 5, the Nets need big-time bench points in order to win. Friday against the Pistons these two struggled, as they combined for 13 points on just 5 of 17 shooting. They have been pretty good at home all season, so I’m looking for a bounce back game from them against the Pacers.

For more on the Indiana Pacers, check out TrueHoop affiliate Eight Points, Nine Seconds.