HOME SWEET HOME: The Nets (23-26) have won 10 of their last 12 home games, but will go 18 days straight without playing there following Wednesday night’s game, their longest stretch since 1984-85. That makes this one pretty important -- especially when you consider the Bobcats (23-29) are 1 1/2 games behind Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
The two teams currently occupy the No. 7-8 seeds, granted there is plenty of basketball left to be played. The Nets begin a seven-game circus road trip Thursday night in Chicago. Then it’s the All-Star break and five games out West. The trip ends March 1 in Milwaukee.
STOPPING AL: Al Jefferson has been a force for Charlotte, averaging 27.2 points and 10.8 rebounds on 53.1 percent shooting in his last five games. He had 40 points and 18 rebounds in 39 minutes Jan. 31 in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. It'll definitely be a tough defensive assignment for Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee or whomever else guards the 6-foot-10 center. Reggie Evans is out the next two games for personal reasons. Brooklyn will also have its hands full trying to contain quick point guard Kemba Walker (18.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.4 rpg).
FINISHING STRONG: Deron Williams has been up-and-down all season. He had six first-quarter assists in his last game Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Williams will be looking forward to the All-Star break as much as anyone; it gives him a chance to rest. But it would be nice for him to get a couple of solid performances on which to build on.