April 15, 2014

Although they're missing one of their top defenders, the Brooklyn Nets have been outstanding at that end during the franchise's longest home winning streak in eight years.

That doesn't bode well for a Charlotte Bobcats team coming off its worst shooting performance in nearly four months.

The Nets will try to win their 10th in a row at home Wednesday night when they take on the Bobcats, who have dropped their last five road games in the series.

Brooklyn (34-31) shot 67.5 percent in the first half while continuing to play well defensively en route to a 108-95 win over Phoenix on Monday. The nine straight victories at home are the franchise's most since a 12-game win streak in the 2005-06 season.

Kevin Garnett has missed the past nine games due to back spasms, including the last five at the Barclays Center. That hasn't stopped Brooklyn from allowing an average of 90.7 points - 8.1 below its season average - over the course of the home streak.

Garnett, selected nine times to the NBA all-defensive first team, is expected to miss at least the next two contests before being re-evaluated Saturday.

Deron Williams had 28 points and went 11 of 13 from the field Monday while Joe Johnson scored 19 to help Brooklyn win for the eighth time in 10 games overall.

The Nets are just a couple of games behind fourth-place Chicago for home-court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, which could prove pivotal given their recent play on their own court.

Williams, who battled ankle problems earlier in the season, has scored a combined 17 while shooting 5 of 16 in two meetings with the Bobcats (33-35).

''I'm definitely feeling better,'' the three-time All-Star said. ''Still not jumping that high, as you can tell, but definitely feeling better and more confident every day.''

Brooklyn may be able to put together another strong defensive effort against a Charlotte team that ranks near the bottom of the league at 95.7 points per game.

After averaging 101.9 points and 48.3 percent from the floor while winning six of eight, the Bobcats shot 35.3 percent as their four-game win streak ended with 97-83 home loss to Atlanta on Monday.

It was Charlotte's worst shooting performance since posting a season-low 31.3 mark in a 99-74 loss to Indiana on Nov. 27.

''We've just got to be focused and have the energy," center Al Jefferson said. "We can't make up excuses as far as being back to back or whatever because it's the NBA.''

Kemba Walker finished with 20 points and seven assists while Gerald Henderson scored 16, but Jefferson shot 6 of 15 and had 16 points after averaging 24.3 and 54.7 percent shooting in the previous four.

Walker has totaled 47 points while leading the Bobcats in scoring in both games against Brooklyn this season.

Jefferson also could be a difficult matchup for the Nets, as he has a 25.5 scoring average in 10 games this month. However, he was limited to 12 points in a 105-89 loss in Brooklyn on Feb. 12 after missing a 95-91 home win over the Nets on Nov. 20 while recovering from an ankle injury.

The seventh-place Bobcats have a chance to move within 1 1/2 games of the Nets in the East. Charlotte, though, has averaged 87.8 points while dropping eight of the last nine meetings.

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