The New Jersey Nets kick off a three-game road trip Thursday night when they take on the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center. Just another trip to Florida for Deron Williams and the Nets... except they are going against Dwight Howard, the superstar center that has publicly asked to be traded to New Jersey.
Howard, for his part, wanted nothing to do with the controversy this week.
"We're not talking about the Nets right now," the All-Star told reporters. "We're talking about the Magic. That's the team I play for. There's no need to talk about any other team -- who's interested in them or not. I'm not going to get into a discussion about it."
As far as the Nets are concerned, they just want to find a way to start a game without digging themselves a huge hole. Opening night against the Washington Wizards, New Jersey fell behind by 21 points before storming back for the victory. They weren't so lucky Tuesday at the Prudential Center when they were steamrolled by the Atlanta Hawks.
There won't be any lineup changes for Avery Johnson's crew... yet. If the Nets continue to struggle out of the game, expect to see impressive rookie MarShon Brooks take the place of Anthony Morrow and Mehmet Okur slotting in place of Johan Petro at center.
Besides the expected awkwardness surrounding the Howard melodrama, Williams expects the Nets to get the same sort of treatment from the road fans as their reality star teammate has received so far in his two games away from New Jersey.
"I have a feeling that Kris Humphries is not going to be the only one getting booed tonight."
Through two games, Williams is leading the Nets offense with 16.5 points and five assists, while Humphries has owned the glass with 11 rebounds per game.
The leading scorer for the Magic isn't Howard, but rather former Net forward Ryan Anderson and his 16.5 points per game. Orlando's center is right behind Anderson averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
New Jersey has lost nine straight in Orlando and the last seven overall dating back to April of 2009.
Once they are done with Howard and the Magic, the Nets are right back at it Friday night with a rematch against the Hawks in Atlanta.