Brown: ‘To see these signs of life is a great thing’

Mar 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown speaks with forward Tristan Thompson (13) after a play against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter at Oracle Arena.

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Although they fell short in consecutive overtime losses to close out their brief trip, the Brooklyn Nets haven’t had much trouble pulling out victories at Barclays Center.

As they open a three-game homestand, the Nets hope to continue that trend as they try to move closer to home-court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Brooklyn looks for a 12th straight home win Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Playing their third overtime contest in as many games, the Nets (37-33) dropped back-to-back contests for the first time since a three-game skid Jan. 27-Feb. 1 with a 116-111 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday.



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"The ball just bounced their way tonight," said coach Jason Kidd, whose club could become the first team in league history to play in four straight overtime games.

Brooklyn will have to overcome a 2 1/2-game deficit to either Atlantic Division-leading Toronto or Chicago to secure home-court advantage in the East. That would be particularly important since the Nets have won 11 straight games by an average of 11.4 points since their last loss at Barclays Center on Jan. 31.

With its fifth straight home win over Cleveland (29-44), Brooklyn would move within one victory of the team-record 13-game home streak that was set in 2001-02 and matched the following season.

Deron Williams finished with 29 points and hit 5 of 11 from 3-point range Wednesday despite missing the morning shootaround because of an illness. Mirza Teletovic and Joe Johnson also combined for 40 points and 10 3s.

Brooklyn ended up with 17 3-pointers on 37 attempts (45.9 percent) against the Bobcats, the team’s most 3s since hitting 21 in a 130-94 win at Philadelphia on Dec. 20. The Nets lived on the perimeter on the trip, shooting 35.5 percent while averaging 35.7 attempts from beyond the arc.

That approach could benefit them against a Cleveland team that has seen opponents shoot 39.2 percent beyond the arc while sinking double-digits 3s in six straight contests.

Brooklyn has limited the Cavaliers to 90.0 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting in the season series, which has had each team win on its home floor. The Nets also have held opponents to an average of 91.1 points in their last 10 home games, even though Kevin Garnett has missed the last seven due to a back injury.

Cleveland continues to be without Kyrie Irving (biceps), C.J. Miles (ankle) and Anthony Bennett (knee), but has scored 104.0 per game and shot 51.1 percent in its last four.

Dion Waiters hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer Wednesday at Detroit as the Cavaliers overcame a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to win their third straight, 97-96.

"For us to come back and keep our composure – that’s what championship teams do," coach Mike Brown said. "Don’t get me wrong, we are nowhere near that level, but to see these signs of life is a great thing as a coach."

Brown’s squad will still need an outstanding finish while getting some help to move past ninth-place New York and catch Atlanta for the East’s final playoff spot.

Waiters has stepped up with 24.0 points per game in his last five, and scored 26 in an 89-82 loss in Brooklyn on Jan. 4. Williams led the Nets with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting.