The Brooklyn Nets broke their first two-game losing streak under interim head coach PJ Carlesimo, with a 97-77 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday. They host LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat for the first time at Barclays Center Wednesday, then host the Chicago Bulls Friday. They end the tough home stand Tuesday against Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday of next week. Safe to say we will know a lot more about the Nets team after the next three games.
Nets swingman Joe Johnson talked about the upcoming schedule. “We feel pretty good, pretty confident. We understand that we have three tough games and we’re going to take it one game at a time. We’re preparing hard for Miami and we’re going to come out with the same intentions we had tonight and try to dictate the pace of the game.” We shall see how Johnson and his Nets teammates come out against a tougher team from the state of Florida.
Brook Lopez continues to lead the Nets, and with the unfortunate injury to Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics over the weekend, who is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, hopefully Lopez is named as a replacement All-Star. With his averages of 18.6 points and 7.3 rebounds, to go along with 2.2 blocks, Lopez is putting up All-Star caliber numbers that are superior to anyone at the same position. The fact that the Nets are in second place only cements his case to be named to the team to correct the original mistake made by the coaches that didn’t place him there in the first place.
Though the Nets have played well overall under the current interim coach, it is troubling that their four losses under him have all come by an average of over 20 points per game. If the Nets lose two of the next three, it shows that they are not quite yet ready for prime time. If they are able to win two of the three games, it would send a statement to the league that they are a team to be reckoned with. Winning all three games would send a clear message not only to the Heat, the best team in the Eastern Conference, but also to the New York Knicks, the leaders of the Atlantic Division, who the Nets defeated last week.