The Brooklyn Nets will try to snap a three-game losing streak and get their first road victory of the season Friday night in Phoenix. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
E IS FOR EFFORT: The Nets (2-5, 0-4 road) have played just seven games this season but have already failed to show up for two of them. Their latest no-show was Wednesday night in Sacramento, as they were blown out by the 1-5 Kings, who came into that game as the league’s worst defensive team in terms of efficiency. It was a terrible performance all around. The Suns (5-3) are no slouches. The Nets have to come ready to play from the opening tip and put up a consistent performance. They must correct their mistakes on the defensive end and play a good third quarter. Otherwise, they’re going to leave Phoenix 0-2 on their three-game West Coast swing.
STAR POWER-LESS: Kevin Garnett hasn’t had the impact the Nets thought he would. Sure, it’s early, but Garnett continues to misfire. He’s shooting 30.6 percent from the field, including 3-for-9 inside the restricted area and 13-for-38 from midrange. Brooklyn, which ranks 26th in offensive efficiency, needs more from KG. Meanwhile, as we detailed in Friday’s Starting Five, Deron Williams still doesn’t look comfortable. D-Will is in his prime. Now that he’s healthier than he has been, it’s time for him to step up and play like an elite point guard.
RISING OF THE PHOENIX: The Suns have obviously gotten off to an impressive start, since many believed they would be one of the worst teams in the league this season. Even after trading Marcin Gortat, Phoenix ranks tied for fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Eric Bledsoe is averaging 21.1 points and 7.1 assists on 51.4 percent shooting. Markieff Morris has a Player Efficiency Rating of 25.98.