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BROOKLYN - From the moment the Brooklyn Nets arrived in training camp the team’s mantra was: Win With Defense.
But after having lost two straight overtime games and desperately needing a win to retain any hope of overtaking the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division title, the Nets turned to their offense Friday night in Barclays Center.
The Nets shot a sizzling 60-percent from the field in the first half and 54-percent for the game, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-97, for their 12 straight home win.
"The ball was moving," coach Jason Kidd said, "guys were making shots."
If the Nets can gain homecourt in the first round of the playoffs it would be formidable. The 12 straight home wins ties the second longest streak in franchise history. The Nets have won 19 of their last 21 at home.
"It sure beats us getting booed earlier in the year," Pierce said. "So we're playing well here. We feel comfortable on our home turf."
The defense was better than it was on the three-game road trip but not back to where it was in January, February and the first half of March, but not as good as it needs to be for the Nets to go deep in the playoffs.
They forced 12 turnovers, which led to 17 points. When the Nets (38-33) were at their best they were forcing 17.5 turnovers, tops in the league, which led to 20.7 points.
The Raptors rallied in the final minutes to edge the Boston Celtics, 105-103, to clinch a playoff spot. The Nets have 11 games remaining to catch the Raptors, who have a two and one-half games lead.
The good news is that only five of those games are on the road and three of those games are against teams with winning records. The Raptors have 10 games left, five on the road, and three against teams with winning records.