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Nets look to improve road form in matchup with Sixers

The Nets are hoping to further burnish their playoff credentials on Saturday night
04/05/2014 11:26 AM ET
By The Associated Press

Joe Johnson takes a shot during Brooklyn's recent win over the Pistons.(AP)
(AP) -- While they've rolled to the longest home winning streak in franchise history, the Brooklyn Nets have had a difficult time pulling out road victories of late.

The Nets appear to have a strong opportunity to change that trend in Philadelphia.

Brooklyn should have Kevin Garnett back as it continues its pursuit of home-court advantage in the first round while trying to avoid a fourth straight road loss Saturday night against the 76ers.

Shaun Livingston finished with 23 points while Mirza Teletovic had 20 and hit six of the team's 15 3-pointers Friday in a 116-104 victory over Detroit that extended Brooklyn's home winning streak to 15 games.

"You feel comfortable when you have dinner at your house, rather than when you go to someone else's house and don't know what they're going to cook," said Paul Pierce, who added 17 points.

Given their dominance at Barclays Center, it may be critical for the playoff-bound Nets (41-34) to gain home-court advantage in the postseason. However, they're still 2 1/2 games back of Atlantic Division-leading Toronto and fourth-place Chicago.

Now Brooklyn will try to reverse its recent fortunes away from home as it embarks on a three-game swing that concludes with stops at Miami and Orlando.

After dropping overtime contests at New Orleans and Charlotte on their previous trip, the Nets suffered their worst defeat in more than a month Wednesday in a 110-81 loss at New York. Brooklyn has allowed an average of 93.9 points during its home winning streak, but has given up 111.7 points per game on its road slide.

The Nets should have a good chance to end those struggles, but Philadelphia (17-59) has won two of four since tying an NBA record with 26 straight losses.

The 76ers had averaged just 95.2 points while dropping 28 of 29 before Michael Carter-Williams had 24 points Friday and Henry Sims added a career-high 24 in a 111-102 win at Boston.

Philadelphia also has given the Nets a difficult time in the last two meetings, though those came before Evan Turner was traded to the Pacers. Turner scored 29 - including the game-winning jumper as time expired - and Thaddeus Young added 25 in a 121-120 overtime home win Dec. 20 as Brooklyn played without Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson.

Garnett, however, could return Saturday after missing 19 games with a back injury.

"We'll see," coach Jason Kidd told the team's official website. "He felt better (Friday). We'll see how his plane ride goes and then we'll see in the morning how he feels. We would like to try to get him to go (Saturday), but it's up to him."

Carter-Williams had 21 points on Feb. 3 as the 76ers' comeback attempt came up short in a 108-102 loss in Brooklyn. They played without Carter-Williams due to a skin infection in a 130-94 road loss Dec. 16.

Johnson drilled a career-high 10 3-pointers on the way to a season-high 37 points in that contest for the Nets, who have hit 46 of 93 (49.5 percent) from beyond the arc in the season series.

Pierce has totaled 49 points for Brooklyn while sinking all 20 of his free-throw attempts in the last two matchups, while Deron Williams has averaged 22.2 points and 10.6 assists in his last five trips to Philadelphia.

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