The circus is coming to town. So the Brooklyn Nets are leaving.
On Monday night the Nets will begin an eight-game, 17-day road trip when they take on the Pistons in Detroit. It’s the longest trip in franchise history, according to the team, in terms of number of games (tied) and consecutive days between home games (17).
The trip spans four different time zones and 8,229 miles. According to the YES Network, the Nets will make 10 flights and have 44 bus trips and six practices before they get home.
“I think that we’ve been talking about this road trip for a while now,” Deron Williams said following the team’s disheartening 105-93 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night at Barclays Center. “This is a big stretch for us to see what we’re made of, to see how tough we are mentally, physically. Two weeks is a long time to be away from home, and so hopefully guy’s minds don’t wander and we stay focused on basketball and get wins, because this is a tough stretch.”
The timing of the trip is a bit perplexing, no?
“What’s very, very difficult about this is the timing,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “When it’s all said and done, we all will have played 82 games, but this is not the way you want to play it.”
After playing Detroit, the Nets head to Dallas (Wednesday), Los Angeles (to face the Clippers Saturday), Phoenix (Sunday), Portland (March 27), Denver (March 29), Utah (March 30) and Cleveland (April 3). The Nets will get to come home for a bit before taking on the Cavaliers, but still, they’re not going to be sleeping in their own beds for a while.
During the trip, the Nets will face six Western Conference opponents and three sets of back-to-backs. Given that Brooklyn is 10-14 against the West this season and 17-18 in back-to-backs, the Nets (38-28) would gladly settle for a 4-4 split -- if they end up getting one.
The franchise has had two other eight-game trips in its NBA history: 1978 and 1979. The Nets have won 16 road games this season, their most since 2006-07. The franchise record -- 20 -- was established in 2005-06.
The Nets are coming off an abysmal performance against the Hawks in which they were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter, a quarter in which they allowed Atlanta to shoot a blistering 70 percent from the field.
Now is their chance to turn it around. They’re going to find out a lot about themselves over the next eight games.
“The positive thing about it is just knowing that it’s the NBA, you’ve got so many games, so you go win the next one, then you forget all about this one, you know” Reggie Evans said. “But it makes the flight longer.”