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Protect this house! Nets win 10th straight game at home with 104-99 victory over Bobcats

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Wednesday night, the Nets welcomed the Charlotte Bobcats to Brooklyn. The Nets were winners of nine straight at home, and stand just 2.5 games ahead of the Bobcats in the Eastern Conference standings. With the season dwindling down and the seedings so close, every game -- especially conference games, are crucial to the teams' fate going forward.

Kevin Garnett missed his 10th straight game due to back spasms.

Behind a big 25 point outburst from Deron Williams, the Nets went on to win 104-99 over the Charlotte Bobcats. Brooklyn has now won 10 straight at home, and looked to solidify a higher seed, avoiding the much dreaded seventh seed.

Anytime your up against Al Jefferson, you know your in for a tough night down low. Mason Plumlee, whose filled in Kevin Garnett's shoes very nicely, had the duty of covering Jefferson in this one. Jefferson finished the quarter with 10 points and four rebounds. Plumlee had nine points of his own, sticking with Jefferson the entire way.

Although, it seemed to be an evenly matched quarter, the Nets owned a 26-21 lead after one.

Four minutes into the second quarter, the Nets had a 38-25 lead. The bench was serving it's dues, and Shaun Livingston was heating up with 11 points.

The hot start from the Nets forced Steve Clifford to call an early timeout. Following the timeout, Charlotte came firing back into this game with a 17-3 run, finding their first lead of the game with four minutes remaining in the half.

But, behind the late offensive sparks from Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, the Nets finished the half on a 11-3 run, leading the Bobcats 54-46. Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston led all scorers at the half with 11 points each. For the Bobcats, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Al Jefferson scored 10 points apiece. The Nets held Jefferson scoreless in the second quarter.

Quick first half stats: The Nets forced only three steals, while their bench only combined for 11 points. Defensive intensity and contributions from the bench have played crucial roles in the Nets recent success.

Heading into the second half with an eight point lead, the Nets had a legitimate chance to pull away in the third quarter. They failed to do so, as the Bobcats were outplaying Brooklyn through the early stages of the second half, riding the back of Al Jefferson who was leading all scorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Although the Nets were struggling to execute on the offensive end, Charlotte got into early foul trouble, which enabled the Nets to get easy points and finish the quarter on a good note. Despite being outscored 24-21, the Nets had the upper hand heading into the fourth quarter with a 75-70 advantage.

The Nets' identity of late has been the scrappy defense -- grabbing steals and forcing turnovers. Through the first three quarters, they had just four steals and forced 10 turnovers.

Six Nets players were in double-figures to start the fourth quarter. The Bobcats had just two players in double-figures. Still, Charlotte was fighting their way back, as they tied the game at 79-79 with eight minutes remaining in the game. Just moments after the Bobcats tied it up, they committed their fifth team foul, giving the Nets access to the foul line for the last eight minutes of the game.

Deron Williams started to emerge as the true leader he is -- scoring seven straight points for Brooklyn, putting them up 89-85. Williams also nabbed an important steal in the process, resulting in his sixteenth straight game with a steal, a career best for him.

Paul Pierce who was quiet all game, came up clutch yet again. With a little over two minutes remaining, Paul Pierce hit a huge three pointer, putting Brooklyn up five. Prior to that three, Pierce had just three points on 1-3 shooting. The score was 97-92 in favor of Brooklyn, grabbing the momentum and the crowd's attention.

It looked to be that way, anyway, as Gary Neal answered right back with a three of his own, cutting the Bobcats' deficit down to just two with 1:18 remaining in the game.

After going 1-2 on a pair of free throws, the Nets owned a three point lead with under a minute remaining. The Nets came up with a huge defensive stop, which then led to a clutch Deron Williams jump shot to put the Nets up 100-95 with 38 seconds remaining.

After another defensive stand, the Nets were on their way to another key victory. They sealed the deal with their free throws down the stretch, and went on to win: 104-99.

Deron Williams certainly played like the franchise player he is, leading all scorers with 25 points and eight assists, while Joe Johnson chipped in 20, along with Shaun Livingston contributing 17 points. Marcus Thornton and Andray Blatche combined for 24 points, the only points from the bench.

The Nets have now won 10 straight at home, improving their record to 17-2 at home since December 26th. With the season winding down, this game helps solidify the Nets chances of staying out of the much dreaded seventh seed. The final objective for Brooklyn: capture the division-leading Raptors.

The Nets will welcome the Boston Celtics to Brooklyn this Friday, as the Nets look for some vengeance after a disappointing 91-84 loss in Boston on March 7th.

For more on the Bobcats, check them out at Rufus on Fire