Here is the pregame primer.
The Return of Brook Lopez
Earlier today, it was announced that Brook Lopez is "probable" for tonight's matchup. Lopez last played on Nov. 28 when the Nets won at the Boston Celtics. In the game, Lopez suffered a foot injury and had missed the Nets last seven games. During the stretch, they went 2-5 and lost each of the four games on their homestand.
Lopez is expected to return tonight, though, so the Nets can breathe a sigh of relief.
Jerry Stackhouse Out
Protecting Home Court
After beginning the season 7-1 at Barclays Center, the Nets couldn't sustain their winning ways in Brooklyn without Lopez. After losing to the Thunder, Warriors, Bucks and Knicks, the Nets are looking to begin a new winning streak on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.
During the four game home losing streak, the Nets allowed 105.8 points per game and now, on the season, are allowing 93.8 points per game. That's good for sixth least in the NBA, but the Nets were number one in points allowed as recently as two weeks ago.
Bench Productivity and Andray Blatche
The Nets bench was pretty consistent prior to Lopez going down. Andray Blatche—averaging 18 points as a starter—has done a great job replacing Lopez's offense, but with Blatche in the starting lineup, the Nets lost their primary scorer off of the bench. Blatche played with a lot of confidence as the starter, so it'll be interesting to see if he continues his recent excellent play off the bench.
Since being demoted to the bench, Humphries is averaging only six points in about 17 minutes. Avery Johnson said that a major reason for the demotion was because he thought Reggie Evans complimented Blatche as a power forward better than Humphries did. Now that Lopez has returned, it'll be interesting to see if Humphries' minutes increase.
Check back for our Rapid Recap, posted within minutes of the game's end.