Bobcats-Nets Preview

The Associated Press

While the New Jersey Nets haven't taken advantage of some favorable matchups recently, they have done so this month against the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats.

The Nets will try to sweep the season series against the Bobcats and end a five-game losing streak Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

New Jersey (15-34) and Charlotte (7-38) have two of the worst records in the NBA, but the Nets are 3-0 against the Bobcats, including two victories in March.

Another meeting with the woeful Bobcats figures to help New Jersey snap its skid, although the Nets haven't had much success against other struggling opponents in the last week.

Three of the losses during the current slide came against teams with losing records, including New Orleans and Washington - both of which have fewer wins than the Nets.

New Jersey's offense has been stagnant during the losing streak, averaging 87.4 points on 38.9 percent shooting. The Nets are coming off a 93-84 loss at Atlanta on Friday.

After leading by seven at the end of the third quarter, they were outscored 31-15 in the fourth. Deron Williams, who finished with 20 points and eight assists, scored just two points in the final period.

"A loss is a loss," Williams said. "It's been a tough week. Teams go through it. We're going through it."

Williams has been key to New Jersey's success against Charlotte, although he was limited to 15 minutes because of a strained calf in the Nets' 83-74 road win March 9. Five nights earlier against the Bobcats, he scored a career-high 57 points in a 104-101 victory, and he scored 19 with 10 assists in a home win Jan. 22.

That victory at the Prudential Center is one of five wins in 23 home games this season for the Nets.

Charlotte has lost its last two by an average of 22.5 points, including a 112-92 defeat to Milwaukee on Friday - the 15th time this season the team has fallen by at least 20.

It was also the fifth straight game the Bobcats allowed more than 100 points and the third in a row they let an opponent shoot better than 50.0 percent. Milwaukee had 72 points in the paint, easily a season high.

"You have to be tough-minded as well as physically tough and if you're not, those kinds of things happen," Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. "You have to be experienced, too, and the majority of our guys are not experienced. We have to learn and we have to get better. That's just where we are right now."

Gerald Henderson scored 29 points and Kemba Walker had 13 and seven assists, but the Bobcats shot 40.5 percent and went 1 of 8 from 3-point range. Starting point guard D.J. Augustin did not score and had only two assists in 21 minutes.

Charlotte, which has lost four of five overall, is 3-21 on the road.