The circus is coming to Barclays Center next week. So the Nets will be leaving Brooklyn after the All-Star break and seeing the country for a while, embarking on a high-wire eight-game trip that tips off with a back-to-back set at mile-high Denver and miles-better Golden State.
The Nets are stuck in the NBA’s basement at 9-45, having dropped 12 straight games after winning to end an 11-game skid. They’re 2-23 on the road and 7-22 at Barclays, having fallen a franchise record-tying 14 straight times on that home floor.
They have maintained a positive attitude amid the negative results and know this season is about the rebuilding process, but the Nets would love to snap their overall losing streak sooner rather than later. Before the break and the daunting trip, they have two home dates left against Memphis on Monday night and Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
“It’s just about pulling that win out, finally getting over the hump,” Trevor Booker said after practice Sunday. “Once that happens, it’ll be a big sigh of relief.”
They feel it’s coming. The Nets are encouraged by their improvement during the last seven games; they allowed an average of 105.9 points and lost by single digits every time, including three by five or fewer points.
“Of course we want to win,” Booker said. “But at the same time, we’ve had some good games, some games we had chances to win, but we just couldn’t pull it out. But eventually I’m sure we’ll pull one out if we keep playing the defense that we’re playing.”
This will be their first time playing the 33-23 Grizzlies.
“I wouldn’t say [it’s a] sense of urgency,” Booker said. “I think we just keep trying to improve. I feel like we’re competing at a high level right now. If we just keep competing, everything else is going to take care of itself.”
Friday night’s 108-99 loss to Miami was the Nets’ 11th game with at least 20 turnovers. They committed seven of their 22 in the fourth quarter.
“They turned the pressure up, and it became a real problem handling the ball and executing our offense,” coach Kenny Atkinson said.
“The way you soften them up is being aggressive and driving the ball,” guard Randy Foye said.
Booker contributed three to the turnover tab, but he also had his fourth consecutive double-digit rebounding game. The seventh-year pro easily accepted his move from the first to the second unit six games ago and has excelled.
“That wasn’t a big deal,” Booker said. “Whatever they want to do, I’m totally fine with it. I’m just here to produce and just do my job.”