What did the Nets do over the summer?
In case you paid no attention to the NBA over the summer, the better question would be, what DIDN'T the Nets do? Their first big move of the offseason was signing Jason Kidd right off the Knicks and into their front office as head coach. You'd think they wouldn't have had much money to do much of anything with their roster, but then they managed a blockbuster trade to get Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and our old friend Jason Terry out of Boston and into Brooklyn. They added a few other pieces here and there as well, but there's your basic primer.
What have the Nets done lately?
After a (very) rough start that included their coach being suspended, their coach firing their assistant coach, and a lot of injuries, the Nets seem to have righted the ship a little bit of late. Sporting a 18-22 record, they've won their last three games, and only had one loss this month so far (to the Raptors). They've beat the Heat, they've beat the Warriors, they've beat the Thunder. So yeah. The Mavs may have their hands full. Then again, when do the Mavs ever not have their hands full?
Which Maverick is due for a big game?
Well, if Dirk is going to take a night off, I'd expect him to come back and be amazing. As Josh noted yesterday, Dirk hasn't missed a game for a reason other than injury or illness, well...ever. "Rest" is a new thing that we may have to get used to. That said, Dirk has looked a little tired and has been less than sharp in his typically great closer role of late, so maybe a day off was just what the doctor ordered. I'd look for him to have a great game tonight going up against some familiar faces in JET and Kidd.
What's the biggest matchup to watch?
To play off a theme, Dirk versus whoever they put on him. We all know that Dirty is unbeatable at his best, and if Pierce is on him that shouldn't be a problem, but Kirilenko could be a problem. He's shown stretches of fatigue in the past weeks and Carlisle wouldn't have benched him without reason. Hopefully, a break from the action is the refresher he needs to be himself once again.