Pregame Open Thread: Utah Jazz @ New Jersey Nets

After an 0-4 road trip where the Nets competed but were unable to win any games (as usual) they’re back at home for five straight starting tonight against the Utah Jazz. Hopefully some home cooking will help this team win a few games, and three of the games on this home-stand will be there for the taking (vs. Detroit, Cleveland and Memphis). Tonight may not be one of those games. The Jazz are 27-14 and have beaten the Nets four straight times. Slowing down Deron Williams (the best PG out West in my opinion) will be a key to tonight’s game. 

Here are some other things to keep an eye on:

Getting a W. This is a key before far too many Nets games. But once again the Nets are on an extended losing streak (six games this time) and need to break out of their latest slump. They are exactly halfway through the season and I never thought the team would be this bad. Sure it’s nothing like last year’s 12-win season, but 10-31 is still really poor. One of the biggest problems this year has been extended losing streaks, and once again the Nets are in the midst of one.

Strong Scoring from Brook. While rebounds continue to be an issue with the Nets center (I don’t know why I even bring it up anymore), Brook Lopez has really increased his scoring over the last three games. He has shot over 50 percent in all three and averaged 29 points per game. Before the season this is what I expected from Brook every night, not just once in a while. I’m hoping he can keep up this scoring streak tonight against Utah.

The Bench. Since Derrick Favors was inserted into the starting lineup, the Nets bench has actually produced on a consistent basis. Humphries is what he is and gives the team a solid effort every night. And Sasha Vujacic has really shot the ball well and given the Nets a boost in the scoring department off the bench. With this team’s propensity to struggle scoring, the bench will need to continue to give the team some production for 20-25 minutes a night.

For more on the Utah Jazz, check out TrueHoop affiliate Salt City Hoops.