Preview: Keys to Beat Nets
Preview: Keys to Beat Nets

By Jace Darling, bobcats.com

March 19, 2014

KEY MATCHUP vs. NETS: Al Jefferson vs Mason Plumlee

Fresh off being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week ending March 16, Al Jefferson turned in a 16-point 12-rebound game in a tough home loss to the Atlanta Hawks. But as is the case in the NBA, there is no time to dwell on the past. The Bobcats will travel to Brooklyn to face the hot, but injury-plagued Nets. Due to injury, rookie center/forward Mason Plumlee has been getting the starts at center for the Nets. And now Plumlee’s job will get even harder. He will be tasked to stop the Eastern Conference’s only 20-point, 10-rebound player in Jefferson. With his double-double against Atlanta Monday Mar. 17 at Time Warner Cable Arena, Jefferson recorded his fourth double-double in his last five games and his 30th double-double of the season. Not only has Jefferson been a double-double machine this season, his offensive production has been at an all time franchise high. With his 25-point 16-rebound game on March 14 against Minnesota, Jefferson set a Bobcats record with his 20th game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and has scored 20 or more points in 25 of his last 30 games. For the season, Jefferson is averaging 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 blocks per contest… In his first season in the NBA, Duke product Mason Plumlee is starting to get a feel for the pro game. Plumlee has been in the starting five since Feb. 23 and the Nets have gone 8-2 in those games. He scored a career-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting while matching his career-high of 13 rebounds against New Orleans Feb. 9, while coming off the bench. Plumlee became the first Nets’ rookie since Josh Boone (Mar. 28, 2007) to shoot 80.0 percent or better from the field with 10 or more attempts in a game. This season Plumlee is averaging 6.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 16.5 minutes per game.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (33-35)

As the season stands the Bobcats are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference Standings. The Cats are two and a half games behind Brooklyn (sixth place) and with Monday night’s loss to Atlanta, allowed the eighth place Hawks to climb a full game closer to the Bobcats and stand at three games out of seventh place… Entering Wednesday night’s game against Brooklyn, the Bobcats are giving up only 97.1 points per game, which is the fifth-lowest average in the NBA. In addition, the Bobcats are giving up the fewest fast break points (10.2) and the fourth- fewest points in the paint (38.5). They have held their opponent under 100 points in 44 of their 68 games this season, which is the third-most such games in the NBA… Even after a sloppy 18-turnover performance Sunday, Mar. 16 against Milwaukee the Bobcats average the fewest turnovers in the NBA at 12.5 per game… With defensive-minded teams, close games are always going to be a part of the process. The Bobcats have played a league-high 26 games this season decided by six points or less and are 14-12 in those games… The 100-point mark in a game has been a friend of the team all season. The Bobcats are 20-4 this season when they score 100 points or more, including 11-1 at home… The Cats have won 33 games so far this season, surpassing last season’s total of 21 wins and surpassing their total of 28 wins from the past two seasons combined. They are the 13th team in NBA history to surpass its win total from the previous two seasons combined. Sunday’s win at Milwaukee was the Bobcats 14th road victory this season, setting a franchise record for road wins in a season. With 32 wins through 66 games, Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford has the most victories by any Bobcats head coach over his first 66 games with the team.

SCOUTING THE NETS (34-31)

The Nets have posted a 24-10 record since the start of January, marking the best record in the Eastern Conference and the fifth-best record in the NBA since Jan. 1. The Nets have also hold the second best home record in the NBA since Jan.1 and have won nine straight games at home with their last loss being Jan. 31 against Oklahoma City. In their last 18 home games the Nets have gone 16-2. The 16-2 mark includes Brooklyn’s seven-game home winning streak and their current nine-game home winning streak (Dec. 27- Jan. 24, Feb. 3-present), which is the Nets’ longest home winning streak since winning nine straight from Mar. 15- Apr. 6, 2006… Injuries are a way of life in the NBA, especially on a veteran-laden team. Last season, the Nets only had 17 different players see action. This season, the Nets have already had 18 different players see action. Through 65 games, the Nets have lost 132 games due to injury/illness compared to only 60 through 65 games last season. Kevin Garnett is out again for an extended amount of time and the Nets lost five of their first six games that he missed, but have now won eight of their last ten that Garnett has been sidelined for.

TUNE IN

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