NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 25th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Nets (17-40) at San Antonio Spurs (47-10), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Star guard Deron Williams is expected to make his Nets debut Friday night, when his new club aims to avoid a ninth consecutive road defeat in the Alamo City against a Spurs team that hasn't lost on its home floor in nearly three months.
After failing to land Carmelo Anthony, New Jersey quickly shifted gears, shocking the NBA by prying Williams, a two-time All-Star, away from Utah on Wednesday for guard Devin Harris, rookie forward Derrick Favors, two first- round draft picks and $3 million in cash.
Williams' reputation took a bit of a hit after his dust-up with Jerry Sloan earlier this month that prompted the Hall of Fame mentor to walk away but even his most vocal critics will agree he is at worst the second best point guard in the game.
"Whatever his relationship with coach Sloan, that will not have any affect on our relationship," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "I have never had a point guard with Deron's talent level and skill level. I've coached some terrific guys, but with the package he brings to the table, we're really excited."
New Jersey acquired Williams with the hope he would headline the team when it moves into its new Brooklyn arena for the 2012-13 season, but Williams could opt out of his contract with the Nets after next season.
On the floor in their last game the Nets fell in Boston on Wednesday when Paul Pierce scored a game-high 31 points as the Celtics used a strong fourth quarter to dispatch New Jersey, 94-80.
Brook Lopez paced the Nets with 18 points. Harris added 16 points and five assists while Anthony Morrow contributed 14 points in the loss as the Nets dropped their third straight.
The Spurs, meanwhile, continued to roll on Wednesday when Tony Parker scored 20 points, Gary Neal had 19 and San Antonio escaped with a 109-105 victory over Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Tim Duncan added 17 points while Richard Jefferson and Matt Bonner scored 12 apiece for the Spurs, who started their post-All Star break schedule by winning their 19th straight game at home.
"Coming out of the All-Star break, with us having the best record in the NBA, you kind of want to defend your home court, especially against a team like Oklahoma City," said Neal. "So this was a huge game for us."
San Antonio's last loss at home was to Dallas way back on Nov. 26. The franchise hasn't won 20 straight at home since Nov. 11-1989-Feb. 6, 1990.
"It's great, it's been big, the homecourt," Spurs All-Star Manu Ginobili told the team's website. "But it's just a stat."
The Nets have lost 15 of 16 overall to the Spurs, including 102-85 setback in Newark on Feb. 14.
02/25 11:09:02 ET