Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks

On the second half of a back to back, the Nets take on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at home in the Prudential Center. Here are a few keys to the contest:

  • Not losing to bad teams by 20: The Nets lost to the Washington Wizards by 20 points last night. And John Wall only scored 5 of the Wizards’ 99 points. The Bucks, meanwhile, are coming off an overtime loss to the Heat last night in which Earl Boykins did his best Michael Jordan impression. No, the Bucks aren’t nearly as bad as their record indicates — John Hollinger and others have been quick to point out that, to date, they have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA. But the Nets’ effort on Friday night was pathetic, and they need to step it up drastically.
  • Find an option other than Brook Lopez: Lopez will be going head-to-head against Andrew Bogut, one of the league’s biggest and best-defending centers. That recipe usually spells doom for Brook’s offensive game. Accordingly, the Nets are going to need another offensive option to step up to put in some points when Lopez inevitably struggles. Figure Devin Harris is the most likely candidate for that, as the backcourt of the Bucks isn’t nearly as fierce as its frontcourt.
  • Containing wing scoring: The Bucks possess a pair of wings who can hurt oppoenents with quick scoring at any time. John Salmons and Corey Maggette, off the bench, are scorers who don’t need a lot of time to heat up and light up the arena. Stephen Graham needs to live up to his defensive reputation in order to keep them from creating two much score separation early on.