The Brooklyn Nets will try to bounce back from the first loss on
their lengthy road trip by adding to the Phoenix Suns’ recent
The Nets will seek a third straight win over Phoenix on Sunday
night while trying once again to cut their deficit in the Atlantic
Brooklyn (40-29) won the first two of its eight straight road
games by a combined 54 points before falling 101-95 to the Los
Angeles Clippers on Saturday. The Nets trailed by only two points
with less than 25 seconds remaining but missed two of three shots
from 3-point range.
“We needed a couple more free throws or a few less turnovers
down the stretch,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “We put
ourselves in a position to win the game, and they just did a much
better job closing it out than we did.”
The loss was only Brooklyn’s third in the past 10 away games and
kept it two shy of matching the franchise’s single-season record of
20 road victories, set in 2005-06. The Nets, winners in six of nine
overall, would appear to have a good chance to move a step closer
to that mark with a visit to the Suns (23-47).
Phoenix is 2-8 in its last 10 and has dropped back-to-back home
games after winning four of six. The short-handed Suns were routed
117-86 by another lowly team, Minnesota, in their latest appearance
at the U.S. Airways Center on Friday.
“This is an embarrassment,” forward P.J. Tucker said. “There’s
no way we can play like that, with no energy.”
Phoenix gave up 67 points in the first half while playing
without Marcin Gortat (foot), Jermaine O’Neal (calf and flu) and
Jared Dudley (illness). With Gortat and O’Neal missing, the Suns
were forced to use 6-foot-9 Luis Scola as their starting center for
the fifth time in nine games.
“Regardless of who’s not here, this is an opportunity for some
of our guys,” coach Lindsey Hunter said. “You’ve got to take
advantage of the opportunity to play and I don’t think guys did
Brooklyn blew out the Suns 99-79 at home on Jan. 11 as Joe
Johnson’s 19 points led five players in double figures. The Nets
could use another victory over Phoenix to help them cut into their
2 1/2-game deficit to the New York Knicks in the Atlantic.
Brooklyn had gotten that lead down to 1 1/2 before the Knicks
won Saturday over Toronto.
The Nets have split their last four games in Phoenix after
losing in 14 straight visits. They won 110-103 in their most recent
game at U.S. Airways on Jan. 13, 2012, as Deron Williams had 35
points and 14 assists.