The Brooklyn Nets will put their 17-0 record against sub-.500 teams on the line when they take on the much-improved Los Angeles Lakers at Barclays Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. Here's what we'll be watching for:
BROOK VS. D12? NOPE: Brook Lopez. Dwight Howard. In Brooklyn. It's the matchup everyone wanted to see: the center the Nets coveted for so long, facing off against the center who has emerged as a first-time All-Star for them this season. And it won't happen.
Howard will miss his third straight game due to a shoulder injury. That conceivably should open things up for Lopez, the NBA's top-scoring center (18.7 PPG), on the interior. Lopez is 1-11 in his career against Howard.
LAKE SHOW: The Lakers (22-26) have won five of their past six games. Kobe Bryant has become more of a facilitator, averaging 10.2 assists per game during that six-game span. Brooklyn (28-19) has lost nine in a row to the Lakers.
INJURY FACTOR: MarShon Brooks (sprained right ankle) is questionable and C.J. Watson (sprained left ankle) is probable, while Andray Blatche (illness) and Jerry Stackhouse (stiff neck) are game-time decisions.
AVERAGE JOE: In his past five games, Joe Johnson is averaging 13.2 points on 38.1 percent shooting. He hasn't scored more than 16 points during that span. Deron Williams has 11 assists and nine turnovers in his past two games, but was bothered by the flu recently.