On Wednesday, the Nets won't face any of the pressure of a Christmas game on national TV. They won't be facing one of the NBA's storied franchises either. Nor will they be at home. Instead, it will be a run-of-the-mill regular season game with the Bucks in Milwaukee. There will be one similarity: the Nets will still be trying to figure out what has happened to their once promising season.
It was only three weeks ago that they were 11-4, on a five-game winning streak, with victories over Boston (2), New York and the best team in L.A., the Clippers. All this they did with an injury to Gerald Wallace who missed seven games. Deron Williams says he doesn't understand what's happening. Wallace thinks some wins will cure it.
"We can't afford losses in the standings or personally as a team," said Wallace. "We've got to get some kind of momentum going as a team where we can start smiling again. Right now, everything just seems down.
"We're dropping our heads on every little mistake, every little mess-up. It's carrying over from the locker room even onto the court and it shows. We are not playing like we are supposed to be playing."
Whatever "it" is, the Nets don't have much time to ponder. They arrived in Milwaukee Christmas night. The Bucks, who are getting healthier, are now a half-game ahead of them in the East at 14-12. They've won six of their last 10 but are only 7-6 at home. They are, however, in first place in the Central Division, after the Bulls were hammered by the Rockets Tuesday.
As you might expect from a Scott Skiles-coached team, the Bucks' strength is their defense, being among the NBA leaders in blocks (second), steals (sixth) and offensive rebounds (seventh). They're ninth in defensive efficiency but 27th in offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage. They are rested, however. They last played on Saturday when Monta Ellis' 37 point outburst couldn't prevent a loss to the Cavaliers.
As for Ersan Ilyasova, rumored to be the object of the Nets affections (perhaps in return for Kris Humphries), he has sunk further into Skiles doghouse. Over the past five games, he's averaged a mere 5.8 points a game on 10 of 32 shooting (31.3 percent). In that stretch, he's also averaged 4.2 rebounds. Hump won't be available for comparisons. He's reportedly staying home to rest his mild abdominal strain.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks Game Notes - Milwaukee Bucks
- Nets at Bucks - December 26, 2012 - Santosh Venkataraman - STATS
- Nets' Kris Humphries out with abdominal strain - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets' Humphries out with abdominal strain - Jonathan Lehman - New York Post
- Kris Humphries Out With Mild Abdominal Strain - Moke Hamilton - SNY
- Bucks one of many teams in contention for playoffs - Charles F. Gardner - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
- Preview: Nets at Bucks - Charles F. Gardner - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel