The 2-4 Nets (winless on the road) take on the 1-5 Kings on the first game of their three game road trip.
The Brooklyn Nets kick off a three-game West Coast swing in Sacramento, when they face the Kings on Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
0-FER THE ROAD: The Nets (2-4) are 0-3 on the road this season, losing in Cleveland, Orlando and Washington. But they are hoping to come together on this road trip. Brooklyn has dropped two winnable games in a row to the Wizards and Pacers. The Nets need to execute better both at the end of quarters and at the end of games.
GOTTA BE BETTER: Kevin Garnett is averaging just six points on 32.1 percent shooting. The Nets are 11 points per 100 possessions better defensively when he’s off the court. Granted, it’s early. Still, KG is 37. We need a greater sample size, but he needs to pick up his game. He’s said he’d like to be more aggressive. He’s said that before. Meanwhile, Deron Williams is coming off his best game of the season Saturday night (17 points, 10 assists) and is, as he put it, starting to fee like his old self. This is a very good sign.
SACTOWN: The Kings (1-5) have lost five straight games. Sacramento is tied with the Nets at 22nd in offensive efficiency. But the Kings are the worst defensive team in the NBA, giving up a staggering 107.2 points per 100 possessions. DeMarcus Cousins has been a bright spot. The 23-year-old center is averaging 23.5 points and 9.7 rebounds, and has a Player Efficiency Rating of 27.89.
INJURY REPORT: Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) did not make the trip with the team and will miss at least the next three games. Also, Tornike Shengelia was sent back to down the D-League. Kings report no significant injuries, if that's not the case let me know.
PG D. Williams 10.8 G. Vasquez 9.0
SG J. Johnson 13.2 M. Thornton 8.7
SF P. Pierce 13.7 J. Salmons 4.8
PF K. Garnett 6.0 P. Patterson 5.7
C B. Lopez 20.2 D. Cousins 23.5
The Nets need a 2-1 (at least) trip starting here to calm everyone's nerves and change the narrative from Garnett is old and D-Will is horrible to "it will take the Nets time to jell". Otherwise the scrutiny will grow and grow and it could force unnecessary lineup changes and such.
My 2 cents (not asked for): Can Kidd look engaged and not so aloof? He looks lost out there. I'm not saying he is lost, but he looks lost, and I don't see how that is inspiring or helpful at all in setting any kind of tone out there.