Without Deron Williams, Nets Face Warriors
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(AP) – After sweeping a pair of games across the Atlantic Ocean, the New Jersey Nets will try to find better results back on their home soil.
Not having point guard Deron Williams and a visit from the Golden State Warriors might not help, however.
The Warriors seek their seventh win in a row over the Nets and third straight in New Jersey on Wednesday night.
The Nets (19-43) had lost six straight before heading to London for two games against Toronto. The trip seemed to help as New Jersey earned a 116-103 win on Friday and a 137-136 victory in triple overtime the next day.
Travis Outlaw scored his team’s final eight points to secure the sweep. Brook Lopez had a team-best 34 points and Sasha Vujacic matched a career high with 25.
With 21 points, Williams had his best scoring performance in five games with New Jersey despite missing 13 of 20 shots. The guard, though, is scheduled to miss the next two games while attending the birth of his fourth child in Dallas.
Nets coach Avery Johnson, though, expects his team to show the same enthusiasm it had in England with Jordan Farmar expected to start in Williams’ place.
“I think we’ll still see it. That’s what I’m hoping for,” Johnson told the team’s official website. “I think the guys like where we are right now. We were really focused over there.
“It was great for our guys to play in that environment. Hopefully, we’ll carry over some of what we had over there in these next games at home.”
The absence of Williams, averaging 15.8 points and 15.2 assists since being acquired from Utah on Feb. 23, might hurt the Nets as they try to keep up with the fast-paced Warriors (28-35), who are averaging 102.8 points.
Golden State failed to score 100 for the first time in six games Tuesday but prevailed 95-85 in Cleveland. Monta Ellis made a career-high six 3-pointers – all in the second half – while scoring 24 points and Stephen Curry added 23.
“We’re not surprised,” Curry said. “(Ellis) takes his show on the road a lot. It’s usually acrobatics at the rim, but tonight he was knocking down 3’s.”
In the finale of a season-high seven-game trip, the Warriors will try to build on that effort by recording back-to-back road wins for the second time this season.
Golden State could use another strong performance from Ellis, who scored 26 points in a 109-100 home win over New Jersey on Jan. 17. The Warriors also got 24 points from David Lee and committed a season-low six turnovers.
Lee has averaged 23.8 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last four games against the Nets.
He’ll try to take advantage of a New Jersey frontcourt that might be without center Johan Petro (illness). Damion James is also expected to sit out with a concussion, and Quinton Ross is out indefinitely after an epidural injection in his back.
Anthony Morrow, though, might return from a slight concussion he suffered Friday in London.
Updated March 8, 2011
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