Tonight at 7 p.m., the Nets head to our nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards, owners of the worst record in the NBA.
After a victory against the NBA’s best team (the Thunder), Brooklyn must ensure that it keeps up the intensity against a team that is struggling.
Washington is a league-worst 3-12 at home, and a familiar face will be returning to the Verizon Center.
Andray Blatche Takes on His Old Mates
Andray Blatche is a completely different player for the Nets this season than he was in his seven seasons as a member of the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards drafted Blatche in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft, and in those seven seasons, Blatche averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per game.
His Wizards’ tenure was certainly not memorable, and it got so bad later on that fans at the Verizon Center actually booed him every time he touched the ball. He’s likely to receive the same treatment tonight.
He was waived by the Wizards last July using the amnesty provision, but Billy King found a diamond in the rough, as Blatche has averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season, including filling in admirably as a starter for the injured Brook Lopez.
With Kris Humphries’ injury status uncertain, Blatche may see extended minutes tonight, and he’s likely out to prove that he is far removed from his days with the Wizards.
Emergence of a new ‘Big Three’
In Wednesday night’s win over the Thunder, the Nets’ “Big Three” finally all showed up on the night together.
Joe Johnson led the way with 33 points, while Lopez added 25. Deron Williams recorded a double-double with 19 points and 13 assists.
Consistent performances from the new “Big Three” are exactly what the Nets need to get back on a roll like there were at the beginning of the season.
Tonight is a great way to build confidence against a hapless Wizards bunch.
Wizards Far from 100 Percent
Thursday was the first time since the beginning of the season that the Wizards had 15 players at their practice.
John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker and A.J. Price have all missed time due to injury, which has lead to a dismal start from Washington.
Ariza may play in tonight’s game, but the Wizards will still be without the other three. The loss of Wall has certainly hindered Washington’s play this season.
Favorable Schedule Could Be a Trap
Other than two tough road games against the Spurs and Thunder (though the Nets wound up beating the Thunder), the strength of schedule in P.J. Carlesimo’s first two weeks coaching the Nets is very weak.
The Nets earned wins over the Bobcats and Cavaliers, and after tonight’s game against the Wizards, Brooklyn will take on the Kings, 76ers and Suns – all with records under .500.
The Nets can’t fall into a trap of thinking they will easily roll over these teams and must play with the same intensity exhibited in the Thunder game.
This is a perfect opportunity for the Nets to comfortably get over .500 with tough games against the Pacers, Hawks and Knicks on the horizon.
The action tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the YES Network.