The Nets return to Brooklyn Monday night seeking to halt a three-game slide after Saturday night's loss in Miami to the Heat. With a 32-33 record, it's the first time the Nets have been under .500 since Jan. 16, when they evened their record at 23-23 with an overtime win in Houston. That was part of a six-game winning streak that lifted the Nets to a season-high four games over .500 at 27-23.
"This is the NBA," said coach Kenny Atkinson after Saturday night's game. "You have periods when you're playing really well, periods when you struggle. This is a struggle period. We obviously have guys coming back, and it's up to me to do a better job finding how everybody fits in their role. Right now we're a little out of sorts with our roles and minutes distribution and still trying to figure it out. We haven't found that kind of comfort area where everybody feels comfortable in their role."
STRUGGLING TO SHOOT
In dropping 10 of their last 15 games, the Nets are 30th in the NBA in field goal percentage (43.2), 28th in 3-point field goal percentage (32.5), and 28th in offensive rating (105.3) during that stretch
"We're searching for guys that are putting the ball in the hole and a lot of guys are struggling right now shooting the ball," said Kenny Atkinson. "We keep trying different guys, different lineups. I think we tried every lineup possible tonight to get it going and it's just not working right now. That's what happens in the NBA. You have stretches we here you're not playing well and other teams are. The issue with us, the runway's pretty short, so we've got to figure it out soon.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS
The Mavericks have a different look since the Nets last saw them during Thanksgiving week in Dallas. They've traded away Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith and DeAndre Jordan and added Tim Hardaway Jr. Kristaps Porzingis, acquired along with Hardaway from the Knicks, remains sidelined after last season's knee injury. Rookie Luka Doncic leads Dallas across the board with 21.0 points, 5.6 points and 7.2 rebounds. With all the shuffling, Dirk Nowitzki has moved back into the starting lineup as he makes what is presumed to be his last tour around the league. The Mavericks are sixth in the league in 3-point attempts per game (35.7) and 29th in 2-point attempts (50.3). Dallas is 27-35 and in 13th place in the Western Conference.