Nets-Warriors Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 21, 2012
The Brooklyn Nets' winning streak is over, but they still have a chance to equal the best 10-game start in franchise history. Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson realizes it could be tough to stop that from happening. Brooklyn will try to rebound from its first loss in nearly two weeks Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. Looking to win six straight for the first time since a franchise record-tying 14-game surge March 12-April 6, 2006, the Nets (6-3) lost 95-90 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday to fall to 1-1 on their three-game California swing. "We got off to a tough start, a slow start (falling behind 10-0), and we finally got back to playing our style of basketball, playing our tempo, but I'm proud of our guys tonight," said coach Avery Johnson, whose team hadn't lost since falling 103-73 at Miami on Nov. 7. Brooklyn can still match the team's best 10-game start, previously done in 2001-02 and 2002-03 - the only two seasons the team has advanced to the NBA finals. "We're going to have our hands full," Jackson, a Brooklyn native, said Tuesday on his radio show. The Warriors (6-5) wish they had Andrew Bogut back to face Nets big man Brook Lopez, who had a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds on Tuesday, but the Australian center is expected to miss at least three more games - he's been out the last six - to strengthen his surgically repaired left ankle. Lopez was injured for the Nets' two wins against Golden State last season, but he's scored 20 or more in his last four games of the series. Without Bogut, the Warriors will need more big minutes from rookies Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes. Ezeli had season highs with nine points and eight rebounds while Barnes added a season-best 20 points and 12 boards as Golden State ended a 2-1 trip with Monday's 105-101 overtime victory against Dallas. Barnes, the No. 7 overall pick, is averaging 17.3 points and 8.8 boards during the team's current 3-1 run. Led by David Lee's 52 boards, the Warriors are outrebounding their opponents by 11.3 per game during this stretch. They're fifth in the NBA with 46.1 boards per game. "It's very important for us to get five guys rebounding the basketball," Jackson said. Brooklyn needs to find a way to slow down Stephen Curry, who is scoring a career-best 18.7 points per game. The oft-injured point guard, who did not face the Nets last season due to injury, tweaked his right ankle early in the fourth quarter Monday, but he poured in 20 of his season-best 31 points after the third. Curry also handed out a season-best nine assists. "He certainly ran this team down the stretch the way that I envision him running it,'' Jackson said. The Warriors didn't envision that second-year guard Klay Thompson would be shooting 33.3 percent at this point, but Jackson is still encouraged by his contributions on the defensive end. Thompson could see time matched up against Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Brooklyn's starting guards have totaled 60 points and 29 assists on the trip while shooting a combined 30.4 percent (17 for 56). Williams averaged 16.5 points, 15.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in the 2011-12 sweep of Golden State. He had nine points and a season-high 20 assists in a 102-100 victory in Oakland on March 30. Forward Gerald Wallace added 24 points and a season-best 18 boards in that contest as the Nets rallied from 19 down in the second half to snap a six-game skid by the Bay.
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