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Nets welcome LeBron James and the Cavs to Brooklyn

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Meh. The Nets fell behind by a bunch, fought to make it close, but ultimately wound up losing to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday evening. It was their third straight loss and seventh in the last eight games.

Tony Brown was so frustrated by his team's lack of desire he announced two line-up changes: Sergey Karasev starts at shooting guard and Shane Larkin at the point.  They replace Wayne Ellington, who has shot poorly of late, and Donald Sloan.  Karasev said he sees the late season as an opportunity, adding that he wants to stay in the NBA, not return to Europe.

"Now it's my time to show everybody that I can stay and be successful (here)." he told reporters Wednesday.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Cleveland Cavaliers. You'd never know it considering how often they're in the news for off court drama (more on that in a bit), but they're atop the Eastern Conference and are the favorites to make it out of the East in the playoffs. This is the second night of a back-to-back. With no drama, Cleveland beat the Bucks, 1131-104. LeBron James scored 26 points, Kevin Love returned to the lineup to add 24 while Kyrie Irving celebrated turning 24 by flirting with a triple-double.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip after 7:30.

Injuries

The Nets are all clear. With only Jarrett Jack hurting, the Nets will have deactivate one player.

Kevin Love has been under the weather for the past week but looked good Wednesday.

The game

Check it

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Cleveland

Record

19-51 51-20

Pace

96.9 95.31

Offensive Efficiency

101.1 108.1

Defensive Efficiency

107.5 102.2

Turnover Rate

15.2 14.1

Assist Rate

17.1 17.4

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.6 25.5

Rebound Rate

49.4 52.4

Free Throw Rate

24.3 26.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.5 52.3

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.8 49.7

Cleveland won the first game in November and the second one in January.

Guess who's back

Rondae Hollis Jefferson made his return from the ankle injury he suffered in December on Tuesday and played 15 minutes coming off of the bench.

Player to watch: LeBron James

The King wants to bring a title to The Land, but despite making it to the Finals six straight times -- and being favored to make it seven -- there aren't many out there, including Lebron himself who thinks the Cavaliers are ready for the challenge of the Spurs or Warriors.

The "super team" Dan Gilbert --and James-- put together isn't producing at a championship level.  Last year, there was a legitimate excuse: injuries sapped the Cavs strength, but this year, Cleveland has avoided the injury bug. Still, there's a lack of fire and surplus of drama.  James added to it this week with his decision to unfollow the Cavs Twitter account, an act of protest ... and perhaps a signal that if the team doesn't win it all, free agency could be a lot more than a numbers game between him and Gilbert.

Moreover, James told Bleacher Report that he dreams of playing with his long time friends, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul in the future.

"I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together," James said, as quoted by Al Iannazzone. "At least one, maybe one or two seasons — me, Melo, D-Wade, CP — we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that."  Anthony said he would too.

When asked if it would be in New York, Anthony said, "I think by that time you want to go somewhere warm. That would be later, retirement." Anthony then paused and said, "I’m adding fuel to the fire."

For all that drama, James is having a typical year.  He's averaging 24.9 points, 6.6 assists and 7.4 rebounds.  He has fallen off from three, shooting a career worse 28.8 percent. It hasn't stopped him from shooting, though.

From the Vault

"Back in 89 I simply slid in the place. Buddy, buddy buddy all up in your face..."

More reading: Fear The Sword