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Nets continue road trip in Phoenix

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NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Late nights and heartbreak.

The Brooklyn Nets took a trip to Los Angeles to begin their five-game road trip and reacquaint themselves with an old friend. However, their trip got off to a rocky start as Brook Lopez had his best game of the season and helped LA beat Brooklyn by 12. This is the first night of a back-to-back for the Nets. They’re in Denver to face the Nuggets tomorrow night.

The opponent tonight will be the Phoenix Suns. After getting rid of their coach (Earl Watson) and star point guard (Eric Bledsoe), they haven’t been half bad. Phoenix has been playing hard for interim coach Jay Triano and look like an acceptable NBA team. This is the second leg of a back-to-back for Phoenix. They lost to the Spurs in San Antonio last night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. 9 PM tip-off.


Jarrett Allen, Trevor Booker, and Quincy Acy all missed Friday’s game due to injury. For this game, Allen is out, Booker is questionable, and Acy is probable.

T.J. Warren knocked heads with Enes Kanter on Friday, but he played yesterday and figures to be good to go tonight. Eric Bledsoe is still on the Suns roster, but not playing as Phoenix tries to find him a new home. Bledsoe is working out individually at the Suns training facility.

The game

The Suns won the first meeting on Halloween.

Maybe Allen Crabbe is out of his slump? The shooting guard scored a season-high 25 points off the bench and knocked down four three-pointers in 29 minutes on Friday night. Nicholas LeTourneau broke it down here. The Nets offense relies heavily on the three-pointer, and if Crabbe can get it going from deep, it will get Brooklyn back on track.

With the exception of last night, Devin Booker's been on a nice roll as of late. He's shot above 45 percent from the field in four of the last five games and scored over 30 points three times in that span. Efficient scoring from your guards is more important than ever, and seeing Booker get better is a great sign for Suns management. Like a lot of Nets, the losing streak has been rough on Caris Levert. During the streak, he's shot under 30 percent three times and has generally looked out of sorts. He'll need a big effort on defense if he wants to slow Booker down and if he can, it'll greatly improve Brooklyn's chances of winning, as well as boost Levert's confidence going forward.

Kenny Atkinson was concerned enough about the team’s “rhythm” that he decided to return to what he called training camp mode during practice Sunday in Phoenix.

And in keeping with the training camp ethos, they had some fun too. Atkinson took the team to the venerable Sloan Park for some baseball. Joe Harris showed he has played the game before.

Player to watch: Marquese Chriss

As Phoenix tries to get back to respectability, they'll have to figure out which young players they'll keep to build around Booker. Chriss is the second-youngest player in the rotation and will get every chance possible to develop as the starting power forward. He's working to expand his range and is shooting a respectable 36 percent from three.

Rondae Hollis Jefferson will play a big role for Brooklyn tonight. RHJ has been Brooklyn's most consistent starter one month into the season and is getting better by the day. His size can be an issue against bigger teams (see Denver tomorrow night), but you can work around that.

From the Vault

D’Angelo Russell had a great ending to his last game as a Laker. The same can’t be said for Jason Kidd in his last game as a Sun.

More reading: Bright Side of the Sun