Preview: Nets at Bobcats
The Brooklyn Nets are in the early stages of a stretch that has them playing 12 of 15 games away from home, so they will be looking to exploit a matchup with the league's worst team when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. Brooklyn has dropped two straight and four of five to fall 3 1/2 games behind the front-running New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division and into a logjam with Chicago and Atlanta in a battle for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Nets have won the last five meetings.
Charlotte is mired in a seven-game losing streak and returns home following a wretched four-game road trip in which its average margin of defeat was a staggering 26.3 points. Following a surprising start to the season, the Bobcats have lost 42 of their last 48 games and own the league's worst point differential at minus-10. Charlotte absorbed another setback in the finale of the road trip when power forward Byron Mullens exited the loss to Portland after only three minutes due to a sore right knee.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), SportSouth (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE NETS (34-26): Brooklyn turned the ball over 40 times in back-to-back losses to Dallas and Chicago over the weekend. The Nets have also had troubles generating offense on a consistent basis, averaging only 88.5 points in the last five games. To address the latter issue, coach P.J. Carlesimo is planning on playing his two centers - starter Brook Lopez and backup Andray Blatche - together more often, with Blatche seeing more time at power forward in place of Reggie Evans, a fierce rebounder but minimal scoring threat.
ABOUT THE BOBCATS (13-47): Guard Kemba Walker, the team's leading scorer, labored through a dreadful shooting slump in the four-game road swing. He averaged 12.3 points - five below his average - while shooting 28.3 percent, capped by a 5-for-20 performance in Monday's loss to the Trail Blazers. Walker has also struggled from long distance, making 1 of 11 3-point attempts in the past three games. He has been much better in Charlotte, averaging 25 points and shooting 52 percent in the Bobcats' past three home games.
1. Lopez had 26 points and 11 rebounds in a 97-81 home win over the Bobcats on Dec. 28.
2. F Josh McRoberts, acquired by Charlotte at the trade deadline, had nine points and eight rebounds Monday after replacing an ailing Mullens.
3. Evans has averaged 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 points in the last seven games, failing to score in the last three.
PREDICTION: Nets 99, Bobcats 94
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