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Nets host the Hornets before hitting the road

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Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Is it the dawn of a new day? The Brooklyn Nets opened up the second half of the season against the Knicks on Friday night under new General Manager Sean Marks. They put on a nice show for the home fans and came away with a 109-98 victory over their crosstown foes. They've got one more game in Brooklyn before hitting the road for an extended trip.

Making the trip into Barclays this evening will be the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are in great position to make the playoffs for the first time since becoming the Hornets again. They won their first game out the break, a 98-95 decision over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night. They've won their last four games, and after this, they get two games off before a big game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 6 PM.

Injuries

Nothing new for Brooklyn. Andrea Bargnani is gone and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is still at least a couple of weeks away from his return.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned from the shoulder injury he suffered before the season recently, but only played seven games before re-injuring his shoulder. He will miss the remainder of this season. Spencer Hawes is out with a back injury.

On Saturday, the Hornets signed former Net Jorge Gutierrez to a 10-day contract.

The game

Here's the story on these teams:

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Charlotte

Record

15-40 28-26

Pace

96.67 97.79

Offensive Efficiency

99.6 103

Defensive Efficiency

106.6 101.6

Turnover Rate

15.4 13.3

Assist Rate

16.9 16.3

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.7 20.4

Rebound Rate

49.6 49.6

Free Throw Rate

23.2 28.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.8 49.1

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 49.8

Charlotte won the first meeting in November.

We have a few more pieces of off-court news. The team and Andrea Bargnani agreed to a buyout and Bargs will look to join another team before March 1 so he can be eligible for the playoffs. The Hornets picked up Courtney Lee from Memphis in exchange for PJ Hairston during the All Star Break. They tried to make a run at Dwight Howard, but nothing came of it.

Al Jefferson returned to action on Friday after missing six weeks with a knee injury. He'll be coming off the bench as he gets back into game form. With Jefferson not in tip top form and Hawes out, that should make things easier for Brook Lopez on the inside. Lopez tied his season high on Friday, scoring 33 points while grabbing eight rebounds and blocking four shots. The Hornets are thin up front right now, so pounding the ball inside to Lopez should be job one for all of the Nets.

The Nets will be looking for a point guard this summer, and one name that will come up is Jeremy Lin. Lin has bounced around the league a bunch and is on his third different team in three seasons. He's done a nice job backing up Kemba Walker and will draw attention from teams in the summer. If Lin can put on a show against the duo of Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin, it might make an impression on the new boss.

Player to watch: Jeremy Lamb

Lamb has only been in the league for four seasons, but he's been through a lot. He was one of the players expected to replace James Harden in Oklahoma City after the Thunder traded him in the Fall of 2012. He was never able to establish himself in the Thunder's rotation and was sent to the Hornets at the end of June.

Lamb has played well for Steve Clifford this season and the team rewarded him with a three year, $21 million contract extension. He was incredibly thankful for the team's faith in him, and in January, he told SB Nation's Mirin Fader:

"This is a huge blessing. I’m so thankful because I didn’t know where my NBA career was going. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But to be in this situation now? I’m lost for words."

Lamb is only shooting 31.7 percent from three point range, but he's compensating for it by taking a career high 29 percent of his field goal attempts inside of three feet. Interestingly, he's made 51.8 percent of his long two pointers (16 feet to the three point line). Those shots have been discouraged by writers and teams, but why take shots outside of your range when you don't have to? As long as you're getting good shots up in the flow of the offense, you'll live with the location it's taken from.

On the other side is Bojan Bogdanovic. The Hornets actually called the Nets to find out about his availability in January, but that's as far as things went. Of all the players, Bojan has benefited the most from the coaching change. Under Tony Brown, he's shot 47 percent from three point range after only making 32.6 percent of those shots earlier in the season. For Lamb and the other Hornets, keeping Bogdanovic off the three point line will be key to victory.

From the Vault

Let's check out the ceremony Charlotte recently held to honor Alonzo Mourning.

More reading: At The Hive