Brooklyn's road trip ends in Charlotte

The Nets weren't able to extend their winning streak to five games and lost to New Orleans in overtime on Monday night. Despite the loss, Brooklyn is still in the fifth seed and in good position to catch Chicago for the fourth seed and Toronto for the Atlantic Division crown.

The last opponent on this three game trip will be the Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte has been having a quality season and are in position to make their first trip to the playoffs since the 2009-2010 season. The Bobcats have lost three out of their last four games, including Monday night's contest against Houston. Despite their struggles, Charlotte still has a two game lead over Atlanta for the seventh seed.

This is the fourth and final matchup between these teams in the 2013-2014 season. Brooklyn leads the season series 2-1 and won the game that took place last Wednesday at the Barclays Center.

The season so far

What's happening with these teams? Let's check:

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Charlotte

Record

37-32 34-37

Pace

93.79 95.76

Offensive Efficiency

103.9 100.5

Defensive Efficiency

104.1 101.6

Offensive Rebounding percentage

21.9 21.5

Turnover rate

15.1 13

Assist rate

16.6 16.8

Rebound rate

47.1 49.2

Free throw rate

31.8 21.8

Effective Field Goal percentage

50.7 47.8

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.4 49.3

Add one more person to the injury list. Marcus Thornton had to leave the game on Monday against the Pelicans with a bruised lower back and did not return. His status is unknown as of this writing. Andrei Kirilenko missed the game on Monday with a sprained ankle and Kevin Garnett is still out of action with his bad back.

The point guard matchup between Deron Williams and Kemba Walker should be a good one. Williams won the matchup last Wednesday, scoring 25 points and only committing one turnover while Walker struggled. At the beginning of the season, there was talk that Walker tried to injure Williams, but that talk has subsided. The variety in the Nets offense (when they're going well) has allowed for Williams to settle in nicely as he's had a great, injury free second half. As for Walker, he's got more responsibility on offense as he and Al Jefferson are the team's best (only?) options on offense.

Al Jefferson has struggled against Brooklyn this season. In the two meetings (he missed the first game back in November due to a right ankle injury), he's only shot 40.6 percent from the field and taken only six free throws. Against everybody else, he's been pretty great. On the whole, Big Al is averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds on 50 percent shooting in 34 minutes a game. Mason Plumlee and Andray Blatche will be responsible for slowing Jefferson down.

Charlotte's defense has sustained them throughout this season. They have been ranked in the Top Ten in defensive efficiency all season, and they are allowing 101.6 points per 100 possessions, good for eighth best in the league. How do they succeed on defense? They do it by successfully defending the paint and keeping teams off the free throw line. Opponents are only shooting 57.6 percent inside the restricted area, good for fourth lowest in the league. Also, they send teams to the line at the third lowest rate in the league this season.

Player to watch: Josh McRoberts

The former Blue Devil has been working to expand his offensive repertoire and has become a decent three point shooter. McRoberts has taken 252 three pointers this year, which is more than every other season combined. He's shooting a respectable 36 percent from downtown and is averaging eight points in 30 minutes a night. McRoberts had a quiet game against Brooklyn last Wednesday and missed a three late that would have brought Charlotte to within one possession of the Nets.

McRoberts will be dealing with Paul Pierce this evening. After a slow start, Pierce has rebounded and is having a nice season. McRoberts isn't the best rebounder the team, and having to defend Paul Pierce on the perimeter won't help him on the glass. On offense, McRoberts hopes to provide some spacing for Jefferson in the post. He's not a player that can get his own shot consistently, so it'll be up to Walker to get him good looks.

From the Vault

Take a trip back to 2002 and see Jason Kidd do his thing against Charlotte in the playoffs.


More reading: Rufus on Fire

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