Tonight at 6 p.m., the Nets host the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn has won five straight games, four of which have come against teams under .500.
The Pacers have won four straight games and head to Brooklyn leading the Central Division by two games over the Chicago Bulls.
A Competent Opponent
In P.J. Carlesimo’s brief tenure as head coach, the Nets have only faced two teams over .500 (the Spurs and the Thunder).
Today’s game will be a test against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and will be a barometer of where the Nets are as a team.
Sure, the team is winning, but the competition hasn’t been great over the recent stretch. Brooklyn is 14-0 against teams under .500 but just 7-15 against teams at .500 or with winning records.
Bitten by the Injury Bug
The Nets might be playing shorthanded again in this one.
Gerald Wallace is out for tonight’s game with bruised ribs he suffered in Friday night’s win. Deron Williams is questionable with a right thigh contusion. Kris Humphries is a game-time decision with a sore left ankle. Jerry Stackhouse (sore hamstring) and Mirza Teletovic (illness) are probable.
Paul George of the Indiana Pacers has emerged as the team’s top scorer in the absence of Danny Granger, but George missed Saturday’s game with the flu and is questionable for tonight’s contest.
Damion James Is Back
Earlier in the day, the Nets signed Damion James to a 10-day contract off the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam.
James appeared in 32 games over the past two seasons for the Nets, but he was constantly injured.
When healthy, James showed flashes of being a high-energy player who even cracked the Nets’ starting lineup for a time.
He’ll provide some much needed depth off the bench as the Nets recover from injuries.
A New Team in the Third Quarter
To begin the season, the Nets struggled consistently in the third quarter and were the lowest scoring team in second halves of games.
But the last two games, the Nets have averaged 31.5 points per third quarter and have held opponents to 35.9 percent shooting from the field.
Brooklyn will have to keep up this pace tonight against a tough Pacers team.
A Team Effort
MarShon Brooks scored a season-high 17 points filling in for Wallace in Friday’s game, and the Nets will need a similar effort.
When called upon, Brooks has been an efficient scorer and has seen his minutes increase under Carlesimo.
Depending on who plays, C.J. Watson and Keith Bogans should see extended time tonight, and they can be a force, especially from three-point range.
A combined effort from the “Bench Mob” can be the determining factor in the outcome of this game.
The action tips off at 6 p.m. and can be seen on the YES Network and NBA TV.