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(November 8, 2013)
EAST RUTHERFORD—Early in this NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets have been consistently inconsistent:
They opened the season with a surprising loss on the road in Cleveland and returned home to post landmark win over the Miami Heat.
They went back on the road and got stunned by the Orlando Magic and returned home to hammer the Utah Jazz.
Can the Nets win on the road?
Can the Nets win back-to-back games?
We’re about to find out.
Friday night (7 p.m.; YES, CBS radio) the Nets play the Wizards in Washington and return home Saturday night (7:30 p.m.; YES, WFAN radio) to take on the Pacers in Barclays Center.
It is the first of 20 back-to-backs they will face this season. For a veteran team that understands the importance of consistency, this could be a telling sign for the season.
“That’s what we’re trying to establish early in the season, start putting good games back to back to back,’’ said forward Paul Pierce. “It’s with a mentality. We can’t rest on our laurels like we did, I thought, after the Miami game and expect teams to lay down for us.’’
“We’ve got to really go out there and take it to teams every night. We’re a team that’s going to have a target on its back every night so we got to expect everybody’s best.’’
“Even though Washington hasn’t been playing well we got to expect their best.’’
The Wizards are 1-3 but they have the young, quick guard in John Wall that has hurt the Nets early this season. Washington will look to run.
The Pacers (5-0) will put the NBA’s only undefeated record on the line Friday night when they host the Toronto Raptors.
Indiana is a grind it out, physical team that pushed the Miami Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals.
Ask Jason Kidd about the first back-to-back of the season and you would think he never looked at a schedule.
When asked if Kevin Garnett, who Kidd has said he wants to limit in back-to-back games, would play against the Wizards, his response sounded like it was pre-recorded.
“I wouldn’t see why not,’’ said Kidd. “We’re not even talking about back-to-backs.’’
“Washington’s our next opponent and that’s as far that we can look. [We’re] going on the road so we got to try to find a way to get a road win.’’
The Nets (2-2) have failed to do that and there is no mystery as to why. The Nets were a little too impressed with themselves.
The loss in Orlando, a 107-86 beatdown, was a realty check.
“Through adversity you can become stronger as a team so I’m glad we faced that a little bit early,’’ said Jason Terry. “A team like Cleveland, we thought we were just going to win. Orlando, we thought we were just going to win.”
“If you’ve seen Orlando Wednesday night they beat the Clippers. So no team early can you take for granted.’’
Deron Williams said the Orlando loss is not representative of this Brooklyn team.
There is every reason to believe he is correct. The season is a mere four games old for the Nets, who are still feeling their way.
Williams (right ankle injury) didn’t play until the final preseason game. Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), made his debut against Miami.
So a couple of early hiccups is no reason to call the panic doctor. Falling to 0-3 on the road and not being able to win consecutive games, however, aren’t good vital signs.
“You got to get your back-to-backs in,’’ said Terry. “All teams face it. It’s something you have to be mentally tough and prepare for. Physically it’s enduring. So you got to take of your business in the first half of the back-to-back.