The New Jersey Nets are wrapping up a grueling stretch of six games in eight days, but things aren't going to get much better the rest of this compact 66-game NBA season. Starting Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Nets will play five games and only have two days off.
Avery Johnson's crew will hope their second week goes better than the first. Though it started positively with an opening night 90-84 victory over the Washington Wizards, it was followed up with blowout losses to the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic before a close game -- but still another loss -- to the Hawks.
Deron Williams leads a struggling Nets offense with 16.5 points and 5.8 assists per game, while rookie MarShon Brooks has been a revelation in his first four games. The guard from Providence is averaging 15.3 points and is fresh off a 21-point effort against the Hawks. Brooks also showed he's still struggling adjusting to the NBA when he called a timeout the team didn't have in the final minutes against Atlanta.
Cleveland is 1-2, but have played every game close, including their overtime loss to the Indiana Packers 98-91 on Friday night on the road. They return home for two straight games
The Cavs are led by veteran Antawn Jamison's 14 points per game, while first overall pick Kyrie Irving is second on the team with averages of 13.3 points and a team-best 6 assists.
Once they are done in Cleveland, the Nets head back to the Prudential Center to face the Packers before heading on the road to take on the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. They will wrap up the week with the Miami Heat Saturday in Florida.
New Jersey will be looking for their fourth straight victory over Cleveland.