Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Nets battle the Los Angeles Lakers at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn will look to conclude its four-game homestand with a win. Dwight Howard will finally be where he wanted to be all along – in Brooklyn – but he will not be playing in the game.
The Lakers are in a hot streak right now, having won five of their last six games including the last two. If Los Angeles plans on making a playoff run, this pace of play needs to continue.
The Lakers have defeated the Nets in nine straight games, including the matchup in Los Angeles earlier this season.
Howard and Metta World Peace Out
Howard said earlier today that he will not play in tonight’s game as he continues to deal with a right shoulder injury. It will be the sixth game he has missed in the last month.
Metta World Peace will also miss tonight’s game. He was suspended for a flagrant foul in Sunday’s game against Brandon Knight of the Pistons.
Should Be Well Rested
The Nets have had three full days off, so the team should come out tonight well rested.
Lopez has had three days and one fourth quarter of rest after not playing in the final frame Friday night. The Nets did not need his services, as the “Bench Mob” took over led by Andray Blatche and MarShon Brooks.
However, the Nets will need their big three of Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams fully contributing in order to earn the win over Los Angeles.
Lakers Not Blowing Out Teams
Sure, the Lakers are going through a winning stretch. But it’s important to note how they’ve been winning – by blowing leads and barely holding on.
Los Angeles led by 18 Sunday against the lowly Pistons and wound up winning by just two. On Friday, the Lakers were leading the Timberwolves by 29 and saw that lead dwindle to four.
The team also recently blew big leads against the Suns and the Hornets.
The Nets are significantly better than the above four teams, so even if the trend of the Lakers jumping out to a lead continues, no lead is safe.
Brooklyn can bury the Lakers if the Nets are the team that jumps out to the lead tonight.
Kobe Dominates Nets
Kobe Bryant has scored at least 24 points in the last six games against the Nets – all Lakers wins.
He comes into action tonight averaging 27.7 points per game, which is third best in the NBA.
However, despite the Lakers’ winning ways, Bryant has averaged just 16.5 points per game over the last four.
But he’ll be playing in Barclays Center for the first time, and he’ll try to light the place up, like he’s done so often in Madison Square Garden.
The action tips off at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on the YES Network and NBA TV.