Playing at home or on the road has made all the difference for the Brooklyn Nets. That's also been the case when they face the Los Angeles Clippers.
No Eastern Conference team has been better on its home floor over the past month than the Nets, a team against which Los Angeles has one road win since the turn of the century. Blake Griffin and the Clippers have never tasted success in Brooklyn heading into Saturday evening's matchup.
The only worse road record than the Nets' 1-11 mark is league-worst Philadelphia's 0-13. The 76ers are also the only East team with a worse overall record, but Brooklyn (7-15) has played better lately and could continue its rise with three games left on a six-game homestand.
The Nets' 6-1 home record since Nov. 12 is topped only by Golden State and San Antonio. The only visitor to win in Brooklyn during that span was the Warriors, and the Nets even held a late third-quarter lead in that one.
Defense has been the difference during their hot stretch at home, holding opponents to 96.1 points per game. They've allowed an average of 108.9 in their last seven road games - all losses.
The Clippers (13-10) are coming off their worst offensive performance, shooting 34.1 percent in an 83-80 loss at Chicago on Thursday. Griffin was ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant foul 2 but still led Los Angeles with 18 points.
Griffin hasn't even reached 15 in any of the Clippers' three visits to Brooklyn as their road losing streak in the series has reached seven. They're 1-15 in road games against the Nets over the past 17 years with the lone win coming Dec. 11, 2007, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
These teams won't meet again until Feb. 29 in Los Angeles, where the Nets have lost 10 of 11. The Clippers have averaged 105.2 points during that span whereas they've failed to surpass 100 in 15 straight on the road in this series.
They're 1-5 this season when not reaching the century mark after Thursday's dreadful effort, but coach Doc Rivers saw one positive sign. After Griffin departed, veteran bench players Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson and Josh Smith keyed the Clippers rallying from a 12-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
"I liked the way we fought back," Rivers said. "... We had a group of I don't even know who was out on the floor when we made that run. But it was nice."
Stephenson had five points and four assists after totaling three points and one assist over the previous three games. Johnson hit three 3-pointers and Smith made a pair while grabbing seven rebounds.
"We just have a lot of guys on that (second) unit that can make plays," Griffin said.
Brooklyn was even happier with its bench performance Thursday.
Andrea Bargnani returned after missing four games with a hamstring injury to score a season-high 23 points, and Shane Larkin scored 12 of his 14 in the second half as the Nets defeated Philadelphia 100-91.
"A.B. was so huge coming off his injury, and Shane was his usual aggressive self," said Brook Lopez, who battled foul trouble and had a season-low seven points.
Thaddeus Young posted a career-high fourth consecutive double-double for the Nets, who have won of four of six after opening the season 3-13.
"We've got a team that can do some things," Young said. "... Hopefully we can transition these wins into more wins and continue to get ourselves back into the hunt."