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Nets make things a little too interesting, just barely beat the Bobcats, 105-96


BROOKLYN - The Charlotte Bobcats, the team with the worst record in the NBA, at 19-58, were in town to make life a lot easier for the Brooklyn Nets. Nothing cures losing like the Charlotte Bobcats.

No Kris Humphries (sinus infection) for the Nets, but everyone else was relatively "healthy," including Joe Johnson, who played 32 minutes and scored 15 points.

A loss to the Bobcats would be the worst loss of the season, easily. Thankfully, for the Nets, that story didn't need to be written.

It was a little closer than the game probably needed to be, as the Bobcats were within five points with under four minutes remaining in the game. But, the talent on the Brooklyn side of the ball, with the play of Deron Williams (32 points, 6 assists) and Reggie Evans (14 points, 20 rebounds) really carrying them in the second half, the Nets didn't quite run away with this one, but in the end a win is a win, and win is exactly what they did: 105-96.

Game Flow

The Nets got out to a fast start, forcing the Bobcats to slower, halfcourt sets, which worked into Brooklyn's favor. On offense, it was all about Deron Williams and Brook Lopez early on. They were working the high-low game, getting the Bobcats to force the trap, which ultimately set up open looks for their teammates -- namely, Joe Johnson and Reggie Evans.

Even as the Bobcats tried to hang in there, the Nets rattled off 10 straight points and gave themselves an early first quarter cushion. That was before Brooklyn themselves got sloppy and almost paced themselves out of an early lead.

After one quarter: Nets 29, Bobcats 23.

In the second, the Nets bench, led by Andray Blatche, carried the lead. Blatche was getting nice looks in the paint against a Charlotte team that had no size or means to stop him down low.

The Bobcats still had plenty of life in them, mainly on the offensive side of the ball, not letting the Nets have much breathing room. Whenever it felt like the Nets were about to pull away, the Bobcats would go on a run of their own. In fact, at the midway point in the second they had taken the lead, 43-41. The Nets, however, answered by bringing back the starters and made Charlotte work on trying to stop Lopez in the paint.

Charlotte's bench, led by Jannero Pargo and Ben Gordon, were, dare I say, "too much." Gordon had 14 first half points off the bench, while Pargo went for 10 of his own.

Halftime: Nets 53, Bobcats 54.

In the third, the Nets started to build some distance, as Williams and Johnson took over, while Evans got back to cleaning up off the glass. Johnson scored eight, while D-Will went for 12 on 5-of-8 shooting. Evans had seven rebounds in the quarter, even after taking an elbow to the lip.

After three: Nets 83, Bobcats 75.

The Bobcats hung around for most of the fourth quarter, sticking within five with under four minutes to play, and eventually pulling to within two points. The entire game it felt like the Nets were getting ready to blow this one open, but they just never did.

It was close, too close, but the Nets avoided going on record having their worst loss of the season in the midst of a run for home-court advantage in the playoffs. Deron Williams, however, took over late in the game and made sure the Nets weren't embarrassed at home.

Final score: Nets 105, Bobcats 96.

For more on the Bobcats, see: Rufus On Fire