NEW YORK (AP) – The New Jersey Nets have done some reshuffling of their roster in hopes of acquiring Carmelo Anthony. Despite rumors swirling of a potential trade, Brook Lopez and the rest of the current Nets seem to be finding their stride.
New Jersey looks to win a third straight game for the first time in nearly two years Wednesday night when it travels to New Orleans to face the struggling Hornets.
The Dec. 15 trade of former first-round pick Terrence Williams to Houston brought Sasha Vujacic from the Los Angeles Lakers and two future first-round picks to New Jersey, which may be trying to use those assets to acquire Anthony from Denver.
In the meantime, Vujacic has averaged 10.7 points in his three games with New Jersey, notching a season high for the second straight contest with 16 at Memphis on Tuesday.
Lopez contributed 26 – his fifth 20-point game in his last eight – to help the Nets (9-20) end a 10-game road losing streak with a 101-94 victory over the Grizzlies.
New Jersey is looking to win its third consecutive game overall for the first time since it won four straight from Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009. Coach Avery Johnson said the Nets are feeling the momentum after winning three of their last four.
“There has been some carry-over in general,” Johnson said. “We’ve got positive energy. Our defense early in the season was good enough to win some games, but we couldn’t score. Now, we’re being spaced a little more and dominant offensively inside.”
Devin Harris has averaged 19.5 points and 7.0 assists in the last four games after scoring 10.5 per game on 32.7 percent shooting while the Nets lost their previous eight.
New Jersey improved to 3-12 on the road Tuesday and won its first game away from home since a 110-96 win Nov. 15 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
While the Nets seem to have put some struggles behind them, the Hornets have gone 5-11 since starting the season 11-1.
New Orleans (16-12) lost for the seventh time in 10 games Monday, falling 94-93 at Indiana on Mike Dunleavy’s buzzer-beating tip-in. It was the second tough loss in as many nights for the Hornets, who lost 111-108 in overtime Sunday in Detroit.
“We’ve always felt this roster was built for times like this,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. “I’m saying tough stuff, Chris (Paul) is saying the tough stuff. We need other guys to step up.”
Paul had 15 points Monday but only four assists, one more than his season low of three set Dec. 12 in a loss at Philadelphia.
David West scored 32 points Sunday, but he’s had only four double-doubles all season after totaling 79 over the previous three campaigns.
Center Emeka Okafor will try to build on one of his best performances after he scored 19 points and added a season-high 15 boards Monday.
A return home my help the Hornets get back on track. They’ve won two straight there to improve to 11-3 in New Orleans.
The Hornets have beaten the Nets six of the last eight meetings, including three straight at home.
© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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