Fresh off one of their best wins of the season, the Nets will get right back after it Monday night when they take on the Pelicans in the second half of a back-to-back set in New Orleans. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
Can they make it five? The Nets (37-31) have won four straight games. On Sunday night in Dallas, they rallied from 13 points down in the fourth quarter and emerged victorious in overtime.
The Pelicans are coming off a win over the two-time defending champion Heat, so Brooklyn can’t afford to overlook New Orleans. The Nets have a chance to pull virtually even with the Bulls for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago (39-31) leads the Nets by a game, but plays at Indiana (51-19) on Monday night. Brooklyn can also move within a game of idle Toronto (39-30) for the Atlantic Division lead.
Gotta go to Joe: Joe Johnson is averaging 20.8 points in his past five games on 54.8 percent shooting. This season, he is 7-for-7 in the final 10 seconds of games in which the Nets are tied or trailing by three points or fewer. Johnson sent Sunday night’s game into OT after connecting on a driving layup with 9.9 on the clock. Johnson then scored six of his 22 points in the extra period.
No KG: Kevin Garnett will miss his 13th consecutive game due to back spasms. The Nets also may be without Andrei Kirilenko, who suffered a mild sprain of his left ankle in the second quarter Sunday night and did not return.
Fear the brow: Anthony Davis is averaging 32.3 points and 13.5 rebounds on 58.0 percent shooting in his past eight games. He’s going to be special -- actually, he already is. The Pelicans still need to put more talent around their young franchise center, but the future certainly looks bright.
Again, this will be a tough defensive assignment for Brooklyn. Expect the Nets to throw double-teams at Davis, much as they did versus Dirk Nowitzki (2-for-12 from the field) on Sunday.