Nuggets-Nets Preview

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While reports of Deron Williams potentially being traded occupy the NBA's rumor mill, the Brooklyn Nets are getting yet another preview of what life could be like without him. So far, it hasn't been too bad as the often-injured point guard nurses a strained right calf. Whether he'll remain sidelined Tuesday night against the visiting Denver Nuggets is in question as the Nets try for consecutive wins. Williams, linked to a potential move to Sacramento in media reports, missed Sunday's 110-105 home win over Detroit, marking the first time he's sat out this season after being limited to 64 games a season ago. Jarrett Jack, who replaced the injured Williams, finished with 15 points and 10 assists as the Nets (11-15) tied a season high with 29 assists and reached 100 points for just the third time in 19 games. "I thought the brand of basketball we put out there tonight was very, very contagious," Jack said. "I just thought it was an enjoyable brand of basketball. Obviously, we need to clean up some things at the end." Brooklyn has also been without starting center Brook Lopez, who has missed eight games with a lower-back injury and is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Mason Plumlee has filled Lopez's post role and is averaging 18.0 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 68.2 percent in his last six games. He had 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting with 12 rebounds in the win over the Pistons to become the first Nets player to have 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game while shooting 90 percent or better since Mike Gminski on Nov. 13, 1987. "The light has come on," coach Lionel Hollins told the team's official website of Plumlee. Joe Johnson added 16 points and is averaging 23.0 in his last four games against Denver. The win ended a three-game losing streak as the Nets shot 52.6 percent. Such numbers hadn't been so easy to match against the Nuggets (12-16) lately with teams shooting just 40.6 percent in six games prior to Monday's 110-82 loss in Charlotte. The Hornets jumped out to a 58-40 halftime lead on 57.1 percent, a deficit this Denver team seems incapable of overcoming. The Nuggets shot 37.8 percent and have hit 40.0 percent on a 2-4 stretch. They were 2 of 18 from 3-point range and have connected on just 4 of 34 in the last two games. Ty Lawson was the only Denver starter to reach double digits with 18 points, while Alonzo Gee had a season-high 15 off the bench. Arron Afflalo's struggles continued, going 4 of 12 for nine points. Over the last three games, he's been held to 9.7 points, shot 28.9 percent and missed all 11 of his 3-point attempts. "I don't know what to say," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "You have eyes, you saw it. It was an ugly, nasty game. We just have to flush it down the toilet." Starting center Timofey Mozgov suffered a laceration to his left eye during the first quarter and received four stitches, but he returned to the game. Mozgov was limited to 15 minutes, and he and fellow center Jusuf Nurkic could be targeted in the post by the Nets and Plumlee's hot hand after allowing Charlotte's Al Jefferson to score 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting. The teams have split six games over the previous three seasons.