Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Tip-off: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 – 10:30 PM ET
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
This evening will be the first time YouWager fans rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers get to see new coach Mike D’Antoni and the Brooklyn Nets will get their first look at Dwight Howard. The 25 year-old player will try to lead the suddenly high-powered Lakers to a season-high third straight win while denying the surging Nets their longest win streak in seven basketball seasons.
D’Antoni was supposed to appear on the team’s bench for the first time Sunday against the Houston Rockets, but his wife and team trainer Gary Vitti convinced him to wait a few more days to continue recovering from knee replacement surgery.
The former NBA players has watched the past two games from the locker room while getting therapy on his knee.
Los Angeles (5-5) has started to find their stride with D’Antoni’s fast-paced style, averaging 116.5 points in their back-to-back victories even while point guard Steve Nash remains out with a small fracture in his leg. The 38 year-old, who ran his new coach’s offense while the two were together in Phoenix, is not expected to return until this weekend at the earliest.
The Lakers posted their highest point total of the season in Sunday’s 119-108 victory versus Houston, shooting a season-best 54.1 percent and topping 60 points in the first half for the second straight contest.
Howard led the way Sunday with 28 points victory after averaging 15.0 over his previous four games, but his next rival might be highly motivated to keep him in check.
Brooklyn (6-2) made a major push to acquire the center this summer, but after those talks with the Orlando Magic broke down, the Nest acquired Joe Johnson from Atlanta and re-signed Brook Lopez and Deron Williams.
Oddsmakers consider those were the right moves since the Nets are off to their best start since 2002-03. That NBA season ended with the second of back-to-back league finals appearances.
Los Angeles, who swept Brooklyn in the 2002 finals, have won eight straight in the series. However, the Nets might have a good chance to end that skid while securing its first six-game win streak since a franchise record-tying 14-game run March 12-April 6, 2006.
Howard has shot 67.1 percent in his last seven games against Brooklyn, averaging 20.0 points. Lopez has averaged 26.0 points over his last four meetings with the Lakers, his best mark against any rival over the past four seasons.