The Phoenix Suns didn't need a reminder of the star power they will face Sunday in Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving, but Aron Baynes provided one anyway.
"They have a hell of a head of a snake coming in at us," said Baynes, who saw Irving have 47-, 43- and 40-point games (twice) when they were teammates with the Boston Celtics the last two seasons.
"It is going to be crucial that we go out there, and we really lock in on our defense and stick to the game plan for the full 48."
The Black Mamba has retired.
Irving has just swapped unis.
Irving has scored 255 points in his first eight games with Brooklyn -- a franchise record for points in the first eight games with the club. After getting 33 in a 119-115 victory at Portland on Friday, Irving is averaging 31.9 points a game, third in the league entering Saturday.
He had 3-pointer to cap a late 17-2 run against the Trail Blazers, and his short jumper in the final 17 seconds sealed the victory as the Nets overcame Damian Lillard's career-high 60-point game.
The Nets' victory was an impressive start to a five-game, nine-day road trip that will continue in Phoenix on Sunday and conclude with games at Utah, Denver and Chicago.
"You do the best you can," Irving told the team's website about the extended time away from home. "Obviously there's nothing like being at home, but that's really where you come together as a group.
"You want to come out with a winning record. You just look forward to that challenge. Just use the time to build team camaraderie. All we have is each other -- we have our significant others sometimes on the trips, but for the most part it's just us."
Guard Spencer Dinwiddie was a primary accomplice Friday, scoring 34 points in 34 minutes off the bench and getting some positive reinforcement from running mate Irving.
"I'm just trying to stay on him to stay aggressive to be the kind of player he wants to be," Irving said of his backcourt mate. "(Friday) was a fresh start for him going into this road trip."
The Suns had a three-game winning streak broken in a 124-108 loss to Miami on Thursday, the second game of their six-game homestand. Miami shot 54.9 percent to the Suns' 44 percent, becoming the first opponent to shoot a better percentage than the Suns this season.
"That's on me," Suns coach Monty Williams told reporters after the game. "I have to get the guys in the game who are going to play the kind of defense we need to play in those moments, and then the guys who are struggling, I have to help them.
"But we'll figure it out. This is good for us. The discipline it takes to play a certain way every night, we just didn't have."
Despite the loss, the Suns are 5-3, their best start since 2014-15. Their only losses other than the one to the Heat are to Denver and Utah -- both by one point and both coming down to the final second.
The Suns have assisted on 66.5 percent of their field goals, the best percentage in the league, and have made at least 11 3-pointers in a franchise-record six straight games. The Suns' 100 3-pointers in the first eight games are the most in franchise history.
Brooklyn backup center DeAndre Jordan missed the Portland game with a sprained ankle. His status for Sunday is unknown.
--Field Level Media