The New Jersey Nets wrap up a disappointing first half Wednesday night by trying to impress Dwight Howard as they take on his Orlando Magic at The Prudential Center in Newark.
In addition to heading into the All-Star break with back-to-back wins against likely playoff teams, the Nets will also try to show Howard what could be waiting for him next season when the team moves to Brooklyn. New Jersey will put on a special pre-game presentation that will focus on Brooklyn and feature a fireworks and laser show.
Once the dog and pony show is over, the Nets will try to beat a tough Magic (21-12) team that has won nine of their last 12, including a 93-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. Besides stopping Howard -- the man they want to play for them as soon as next week -- the Nets will also have to try and contain former Net Ryan Anderson. The forward is having a career year averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc.
Brook Lopez will play his second game for the Nets since returning from a broken foot, but he will have to do without any help from starting forward Kris Humphries. The double-double machine will sit out Wednesday night with a left calf strain. New Jersey could also be without backup PG Sundiata Gaines, who is a game time decision.
The Nets are already without PG Jordan Farmar, leaving Deron Williams as the only healthy option to run the offense. Since the All-Star isn't going to play 48 minutes, if Gaines is unable to play it could leave some point guard duties to rookie MarShon Brooks.
New Jersey continues to be without the services of Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and Damion James.
Knowing a much needed five days off are coming after the game and riding the high of defeating the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls on the road over the weekend, Avery Johnson's crew could just have enough in the tank to sneak by Howard and the Magic.
You can see the game locally on YES or listen on WFAN 660 with tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Nets will scatter after the game while the NBA celebrates All-Star weekend. Deron Williams will play in the game, while Brooks has been selected to play in the Rising Stars game and Anthony Morrow will attempt to win the three-point contest. New Jersey will return to action Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks.