The New Jersey Nets will attempt to put their 10-25 record behind them and focus on getting back into the playoff hunt when they open the second half of the NBA season on the road against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
For the first time all season, Avery Johnson's crew is starting to have health on their side. Center Brook Lopez is back and close to full strength, looking at upwards of 30 minutes against the defending champions. The Nets will also have the services of SF Gerald Green, fresh off a call-up from the D-League.
Also a rarity for New Jersey, most of the talk around the team leading up to the game isn't focused squarely on a trade for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Not that the big man has been forgotten by the media, but instead the spotlight was on PG Deron Williams and the potential of him choosing to play in Dallas next season. Williams spoke glowingly about the American Airlines Center and the Mavericks fans as a whole.
The Nets get to see plenty of former players suited up for the Mavs on Tuesday. Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Yi Jianlian and Brandan Wright will all be in uniform for Dallas.
Johnson should be able to let loose with his starters thanks to the All Star break and two more days off after the showdown in Big D.
You can watch the game locally on YES or listen on WFAN 660 with tip schedule for 8:30 p.m.
Up next for New Jersey is a trip up to Boston to take on the Celtics on Friday night.