Nets-Nuggets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 28, 2013
With a strong start to a season-high eight-game trip, the Brooklyn Nets are one road win away from a franchise record. It isn't likely to come easy against a Denver Nuggets team that hasn't lost at home in more than two months. The Nets will try to set a team mark with their 21st road win Friday night when they face the Nuggets, who are tied for the best home record in the NBA. Brooklyn (42-29), improved to 4-1 on its trip and 20-15 on the road with a 111-93 victory over Portland on Wednesday. That tied the franchise record for away victories set in 2005-06, and the Nets have a chance to finish with a winning road mark for the first time since joining the NBA. Brook Lopez led the way with 28 points while Reggie Evans matched a career high with 22 and added a career-best 26 rebounds. Evans, who has averaged 17.8 rebounds in his last six games and has grabbed at least 22 boards four times in the past 10, became the first player to reach 22 and 26 in the same game this season. "Reggie was absurd," coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "A lot of guys played well for us. That's a very good win." The Nets, who have clinched their first playoff appearance since 2006-07, may have a very tough time earning the record victory Friday. The Nuggets (49-24) have won 17 straight at home, their longest such streak since a 19-game run Jan. 28-April 20, 1989, and have a 32-3 mark there. Denver has also won five straight over Brooklyn at the Pepsi Center by an average of 13.2 points. The Nuggets, however, have lost two in a row since a team record-tying 15-game winning streak. JaVale McGee had 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots Wednesday, but Denver fell 100-99 at San Antonio. Andre Miller added 14 points but missed a potential winning jumper at the buzzer. "I'm pretty sure the film will show it was a good loss, maybe the best loss of the year,'' coach George Karl said. "We saw lot of great stuff. We had to fight a lot of things and overcome not shooting the ball well.'' Lawson finished with two points on 1-of-7 shooting in his first game back after missing three because of a right heel injury. Lawson, the team leader with 16.7 points per game, scored 26 and hit all five of his 3-point attempts in a 119-108 loss to Brooklyn on Feb. 13. The Nuggets played without Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala in that game. Denver made 12 of 17 from 3-point range against the Nets but has missed 31 of 40 from beyond the arc - including all 10 attempts Wednesday - in its last three contests. Lopez had 23 points for Brooklyn in the first meeting and is playing well heading into this contest, averaging 26.3 and 56.8 percent shooting in his last four games. Point guard Deron Williams will try to get back on track after scoring six points on 3-of-11 shooting Wednesday. Joe Johnson, who scored 26 points against Brooklyn last month, will be a game-time decision Friday due to a right quad contusion that has caused him to miss the last two. The Nets have averaged 108.0 points - 12.8 above their road season average - on their trip. They'll likely need another big effort on the boards from Evans as Denver is among the league leaders with 44.8 rebounds a contest and tops in the NBA at 57.8 points in the paint per game.
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