Lakers-Nets Preview

The Brooklyn Nets gave themselves a much-needed boost in the playoff race by beating one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

They’ll try to get another by ending a lengthy home skid to one of the worst teams in the West.

The Nets will also try to match their longest win streak of the season Sunday at the expense of the lowly Los Angeles Lakers.

Brooklyn (31-40) stayed within one-half game of eighth-place Boston in the East with a 106-98 victory over Central Division-leading Cleveland on Friday. Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson each had seven fourth-quarter points to help the Nets pull away.

"At this point for us, every game is important. I was glad, man, that we could just come out and get off to a great start and just sustain for 48 minutes," Johnson said. "That was the main thing, to just give ourselves a chance. This was definitely a much-needed victory."

Brooklyn has aided its postseason hopes by winning six of eight and has taken two of three at home following four consecutive defeats there.

"It’s definitely satisfying to be able to take care of business at home,” point guard Deron Williams told the team’s official website. "We’ve talked a lot about it lately, what every game means to us."

The Nets now seek their first three-game win streak since Feb. 2-6, but they’ve dropped seven straight at home to the Lakers – their longest active home losing streak to any opponent.

Last season’s defeat came to a 27-win Lakers team, and Los Angeles (19-52) is on its way to an even worse showing this season. The Lakers are 3-11 since the beginning of March, with two of those wins coming against a pair of the league’s worst teams, Philadelphia and Minnesota.

They failed to sustain the momentum of Wednesday’s overtime win at Minnesota, losing 94-83 on Friday to Atlantic Division champion Toronto to fall to 1-1 on their five-game road swing.

Jeremy Lin was a bright spot with a team-best 18 points despite dealing with a respiratory infection and is averaging 21.3 on 50.0 percent shooting in his last four games with starts in the past three.

Lin had 18 points and made 6 of 9 shots in the only other matchup with Brooklyn this season, a 114-105 loss Feb. 20.

"I think he’s getting better compared to where he was (Friday)," coach Byron Scott said after practice Saturday. "We’ll just have to wait to see how he feels."

The Nets have won their past two games against Los Angeles, and Johnson had 23 points in the latest meeting. Brook Lopez, who provided 22 points and 14 rebounds, has proved dangerous against the Lakers when healthy.

Lopez is averaging 27.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last four matchups but missed both last season because of injuries.

The Nets are seeking their first series sweep of the Lakers since 2005-06 and fifth since coming over from the ABA in 1976-77.