A second-half collapse cost the Brooklyn Nets a chance to match their longest winning streak of the season. They hope the renewal of a series they’ve recently dominated will help them get back on track.
Brooklyn looks to knock off the Charlotte Bobcats for the 10th time in 11 meetings and second time in seven days on Wednesday night in Charlotte.
The Nets (37-32) shot 50.8 percent during a four-game winning streak before shooting just 36.7 percent in a 109-104 overtime loss at New Orleans on Monday. Brooklyn led by 22 with 10:02 remaining in the third, but Tyreke Evans scored 22 of his 33 points in the second half to lead the Pelicans’ rally.
"We had an opportunity to win the game," said coach Jason Kidd, whose team was coming off a 107-104 overtime victory in Dallas a night earlier. "It went into overtime, and we just couldn’t get it back."
Brooklyn, which was led by 24 points from Paul Pierce and 23 from Deron Williams, became the sixth team this season to attempt 40 3-pointers, hitting just 10. Joe Johnson was 1 of 8 from deep.
The 56 points in the paint surrendered by the Nets were their most allowed in 14 games. They had limited their last 13 opponents to an average of 38.5.
Charlotte has tallied 38 or fewer points in the paint in four of its last five.
"I don’t have the stats, but I know they got a lot of layups," said guard Shaun Livingston, who scored 10 points. "We have to make them take tougher shots. That’s on all of us."
Brooklyn has won nine of 10 against the Bobcats, with the lone loss in that stretch a 95-91 defeat in Charlotte on Nov. 20. The Nets were 9 of 20 from 3-point range and matched a season low with seven turnovers in a 104-99 home victory last Wednesday.
While Brooklyn trails Toronto by 1 12 games for fourth place in the East, the Bobcats (34-37) are in seventh with a two-game edge over Atlanta, with 2 1/2 games separating them from sixth-place Washington.
Charlotte is also coming off a poor shooting performance, making 37.2 percent of its attempts and going 4 of 21 from beyond the arc in a 100-89 home loss to Houston on Monday. Their 12 assists were the second-lowest total of the season for the Bobcats, who have lost two of three at home after winning eight in a row there.
They had averaged 26.2 assists over their previous five games.
"The ball movement just wasn’t the same tonight. We didn’t have a James Harden," Al Jefferson said of the Rockets star, who scored 31.
Jefferson tallied 20 points and 11 rebounds but has cooled off some, shooting 47.9 percent over his last four after averaging 26.6 points on 59.1 percent shooting in his previous nine contests. He’s just 13 of 32 with 30 points in his last two matchups with Brooklyn.
Kemba Walker scored 22 against Houston, marking his fourth 20-plus point performance in five games. The Nets, though, held him to seven points on 2-of-8 shooting while forcing him to commit four turnovers in last week’s loss.
Walker’s 11.9 career scoring average in 10 games versus Brooklyn trails only his 7.8 average against Oklahoma City for his lowest against any opponent.