Good morning Nets fans! As if 8:00 AM EST wasn’t early enough last time, today the Nets & Rockets are starting a half-hour earlier. On a Saturday, too. After dropping the first game on the Eastern Hemisphere 91-81, the Nets are looking for revenge in their last taste of overseas basketball until they play the Raptors in London on March 4th. This is the second Nets preseason game that will be televised, and I’m hoping that it goes better than the first.
A few things to watch out for:
- Brook Lopez. Lopez was one of the lone bright spots in Wednesday’s game, putting together a flurry of post moves and putting on an offensive low post clinic at Yao Ming’s expense. Now that Lopez is finally surrounded by a real NBA basketball team, you’ve got to expect him to keep taking advantage of the 1-on-1 coverage he’s receiving.
- Ball Distribution. The Nets only made 11 assists in Wednesday’s game, 7 of them coming from Devin Harris’s hands. Meanwhile, Houston’s offense was crisp, running plays and moving the ball quickly and instinctively. It was easy to see that Houston was more prepared – which is fair, since they’ve been together longer. Some of that we can chalk up to youthful inexperience – although it should be noted that 35-year-old Joe Smith is starting at power forward today. Still, the Nets need to start playing a 5-on-5 game much more often – when Jordan Farmar & Terrence Williams combine for one assist, there are going to be issues.
- Bounceback games. Jordan Farmar, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, & Travis Outlaw – four of the biggest acquisitions the Nets made all summer – all had highly forgettable games. The four combined for just 14 points on 25% shooting from the field. (Weird coincidence: the four combined to shoot 6-24 and pull down 15 rebounds, which are the same numbers Kobe Bryant put up in Game 7 last year. Completely irrelevant, I know, but it still caught my eye.) Outlaw & Favors have been struggling all preseason, while Farmar & Morrow have been up and down – if those four can put it together, the Nets have a much better chance of pulling this one out.