Some of us have been looking forward to this day since that fateful afternoon last March that our All-Star was traded. Some of us are filled with nervous apprehension. Either way this game is going to tell us a couple of things. First, we're going to find out who we are as a fan base. Are we the vindictive kind? Are we a respectful group that appreciates what the third best Jazz players of all time did for the team and community during his tenure? Second, there's no need to sugar coat it, the Nets are not playing well, are not a deep team, and are on a brutal stretch of their schedule, so this is a chance for the young Jazz team to learn another lesson: how to beat up on a bad team, at home.
What's Going on with The Nets?
What's going on with DWill, is the more important question. Without a doubt, if this Nets team is going to accomplish anything without their second best player Deron Williams will have to get back to the form he was in at the beginning of last season. The Nets have dropped three in a row on this road trip and the future doesn't look bright with a stop in LA for the first game of the new DWill/ CP3 classic. They will be on the second game of a back-to-back when they get to Energy Solutions Arena and their third game in four nights.
I don't sleep well when I lose. It just affects everything I do. So, we've got to turn it around.'' (quote via Colin Stephenson/The Star-Ledger)
The New York market is getting their first real glimpse of the surly, ornery, and prickly Deron Williams that DOES NOT like to lose and it showed in their game at Denver as the All-Star was ejected from the game with 3:02 left in the 4th quarter. We are all privy to this side of the point guard, but have also seen how his disdain for losing can fuel his competitive side and turn the frustration into a fantastic performance and an unlikely win.
The Nets rank at the bottom of the league in FG%, Opp FG%, Opp 3P%, and Opp Blk.
What's Going on with The Jazz?
As most of you probably are well aware, the Jazz are coming off a gut wrenching loss at the hands of an unlikely Pau Gasol three-pointer and lucky Andrew Bynum block. There has been nonstop debate about whether Coach Ty Corbin should have called a timeout as Gordon Hayward streaked down the court, but what is certain is that the team learned some important lessons.
Josh Howard has been making a big impact for this team and is currently making Jazz fans swoon and Kevin O'Connor look like a genius. Paul Millsap continues to be extremely effective as the starting PF. Look for bounce-back games from Big Al Jefferson as he takes on an over-matched Johan Petro and Gordon Hayward as he matches up against the defensively challenged Marshon Brooks.
Earl Watson had an MRI performed on his injured left knee, which came back negative. He has a bone bruise on the injured joint and did not participate in practice today. He will be a game-time decision. Watson Injury
Finally, watch to see how Devin Harris comes out against a Deron Williams that is sure to bring fire and intensity. Lets see if Harris will match Williams and fight to protect the home court advantage and propel himself as a leader to his teammates.
We have to go back to last season for the previous meeting, and that was when Deron Williams was still with the Jazz.
While you're here read Jody Genessy's interview with Deron Williams:
See how Josh Howard has assumed a moniker previously assigned to Andre Kirilenko: