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  • The Brooklyn Nets are 12-2 since P.J. Carlesimo has taken over for the fired Avery Johnson. During that run, they have beaten the likes of Oklahoma City, Indiana and New York. Carlesimo said tonight’s game against Memphis, owners of the NBA’s fifth-best record, will be another barometer of how well his team is playing. “I think it’s as difficult a game as you’re going to see all year,” Carlesimo said. “They’re one of the elite teams in the league. It’s in their building. They are an excellent defensive team. They’re an excellent rebounding team. And they turn you over. It’ll be a real test for us.”
  • While both teams would like to get out and run, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins believes the game will be a physical one, not unlike most Memphis games. Hollins has been impressed with how the Nets have been playing under Carlesimo. “They’replaying freer,” Hollins said. They’re a very physical basketball team that has a lot of size. They rebound well and also do a lot of isolating. It’s going to be a strong battle and it’s going to be a physical battle.”
  • The newest member of the Grizzlies, forward Jon Leuer, is eligible to make his debut tonight. Leuer was acquired in a trade with Cleveland Tuesday for Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a protected future first round draft pick. “To be on a winning team, that’s ultimately what every player wants to be on,” Leuer said. “To go from a team that had 10 wins to a team that had 26 wins, it’s definitely a privilege.”
  • Memphis forward Zach Randolph is playing his first game since being named a Western Conference All-Star reserve Thursday night. He is the first Grizzly player to be a two-time All-Star. On the other hand, the Nets failed to have a player named as an Eastern Conference reserve despite their 26-16 record. Carlesimo felt like center Brook Lopez and guard Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were all deserving players. “I’m surprised that all three of our guys didn’t make it because I thought they were all deserving. But the coaches vote and whatever their reasons were, it’s disappointing,” Carlesimo said. “The TNT guys know what the coaches were thinking about. Most people can’t read minds. Those guys knew what the coaches were thinking about. They’re the only one’s who really know what went into the selection.”

By Marlon W. Morgan

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