While the Brooklyn Nets entered the season with a palpable level of excitement following a blockbuster trade, things haven't clicked as fast as they would have hoped.
Coming off another surprising loss, the Nets look to end their recent woes against the winless Utah Jazz, who try snap their worst start in 34 seasons Tuesday night.
After acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston and pairing them with fellow All-Stars Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, Brooklyn (1-2) was expected to become an Eastern Conference powerhouse. It looks like it could take some time, however, for the team's new pieces to jell.
While the Nets bounced back from a season-opening loss to Cleveland with Friday's 101-100 win over Miami, they had their hands full in a one-sided 107-86 loss at lowly Orlando on Sunday.
"The win against Miami doesn't mean a thing when you come here and lay an egg, which is what we did," said Williams, whose team was outscored 42-26 in the paint. "We had to be ready to match their intensity and we weren't. They looked like they wanted it more and that is unacceptable."
Lopez had 21 points and Pierce added 16, but Johnson scored just two on 1-of-5 shooting. Garnett and Williams finished with a combined 17 and shot 7 for 23.
Williams, who has been battling an ankle injury, is averaging 8.0 points on 36.0 percent shooting. Garnett has posted 7.3 per game on 33.3 percent.
"You can only learn from it," first-year coach Jason Kidd, who was suspended for the first two games because of a drunk driving charge, told the team's official website." Success, or if things don't go well, you can only learn from it."
Utah (0-3) has taken eight of nine in the series, including four straight by an average of 11.2 points. The Jazz, though, are off to their worst start since dropping their first four games in 1979-80.
"We got to realize it's a long season," forward Gordon Hayward said. "We're right there, we just have to figure out whatever it is that will help us push over that edge and get the 'W.'"
Utah is coming off an especially disappointing showing Saturday, falling 104-93 to Houston. Richard Jefferson had 18 points and was one of six players to score in double figures for the Jazz, who led by as many as 19 before getting outscored 64-37 in the second half.
"We got to get better. We're a young group. We should be in it, we should have more energy," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We'll keep working, and hopefully we'll continue to get better."
Utah is opening a four-game road swing with stops in Boston, Chicago and Toronto following this contest.
"Hopefully we can find ourselves on this road trip. It's a huge challenge for our team," Hayward said. "We've fought these past three games, which is something to be proud of, but we still have 'Ls' in that column. We have to find some way to win basketball games."
Alec Burks is averaging a team-leading 18.0 points off the bench while Enes Kanter's 16.7 rank second. The Turkish big man is also pulling down 10.0 boards per contest.
Williams, who spent the first five-plus seasons of his career with Utah before going to the Nets, has never beaten his former team. He is averaging 17.0 points on 33.9 percent shooting and 8.0 assists in four games.
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