Brooklyn Nets road record up for grabs ... again

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

Road warriors! As John Schuhmann points out in his Power Rankings this week, "The Nets are one of only six teams with at least 20 road wins and need just one more for their first winning road record since they were in the ABA." For the record, that would be 1974-75. They even had a losing record in 1975-76, when they won the ABA championship.

The Nets will have another opportunity to break that record Wednesday in Cleveland, after failing in their last two attempts in Denver and Salt Lake City. They'll also get a chance to strengthen their hold on fourth place in the playoffs ... and home court advantage at Barclays Center.

The Cavaliers are a tough team to read. They do have one of the worst records in the NBA at 22-51 and they have lost nine straight and 13 of their last 15. Their coach, Byron Scott, is supposedly in trouble. But they do have Kyrie Irving, lifelong Nets fan and a killer. After being out eight games, he returned with a vengeance on Sunday, scoring 31 points in 29 minutes, hitting 11-of-20 shots and handing out six assists in a 20-point loss to a fellow lottery team, the Hornets. He rested on Monday night. But in that stretch of nine straight, they lost to the Spurs by six, the Heat by three and the Knicks by five, all without Irving.

The biggest problem for the Cavaliers, other than their youth, is the porous defense. In March, they're giving up 103 points per game, including 119 points to the Spurs, 116 to the Rockets, 112 to the Hornets and 111 to the Pacers. They're 25th in the NBA in rebounds, assists and points allowed. They're 30th in opponent shooting, 30th in opponent two point shooting, And despite their youth (or maybe because of it), they get worse, quarter by quarter. They're 29th in both opponents' third and fourth quarter scoring.

Irving, now 21 years old, can get hot. He has 11 games where he scored 30 or more points, including a three game stretch at the end of January when he averaged 35.7 points per game. But of those 11 games, only three came after February 1. The Cavaliers have gotten some good games lately from Tristan Thompson as well as from veteran Luke Walton. But they will need a lot to get past a motivated Nets team.

For the Nets, Joe Johnson is ready but the Nets might sit him out so he's fresh for the Bulls on Thursday night. It's also Kris Joseph's first game as a Net. Whether he will be activated is a question. Now, with 15 players on the roster, two will have to sit.

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