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Nets, Bobcats battle for playoff positioning

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams seemingly headed to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference will battle for positioning Wednesday night when the Brooklyn Nets visit Time Warner Cable Arena to take on the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Nets are just 1 1/2 games behind the Toronto Raptors for supremacy in the Atlantic Division and stand in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 ahead of the Washington Wizards.

The Bobcats, who have only made the postseason once in franchise history, are seventh in the conference, 2 1/2 behind Washington and two games in front of the Atlanta Hawks.

Brooklyn had a four-game winning streak snapped on Monday with a 109-104 overtime loss in New Orleans to the Pelicans.

Paul Pierce led the way with 24 points for the Nets, who have won seven of their last nine. Deron Williams scored 23 and reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Joe Johnson had 15.

The Nets squandered a 22-point lead in the third and an 11-point margin in the fourth. Brooklyn actually overcame a five-point deficit in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, where the Pelicans pretty clearly dominated.

"For whatever reason, we gave the lead up a couple times," Johnson said. "We just have to put it behind us and move forward."

The Nets return to Barclays Center for three straight against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets.

The Bobcats have struggled a bit since a four-game winning streak. Charlotte has dropped three of its last four, including two games at home.

On Monday, the Bobcats fell to the Rockets, 100-89, in Charlotte.

Kemba Walker paced the Bobcats with 22 points, while Al Jefferson supplied 20 points and 11 boards for Charlotte, which is 20-16 this season in its own building.

"I just think that we let (the Rockets) get us out of what we do," Jefferson said. "We didn't move the ball. We just have to get back on track."

Gerald Henderson scored 13 points, followed by 11 from Josh McRoberts and 10 out of Cody Zeller. The Bobcats only shot 37.2 percent from the field in the loss.

The Nets have taken two of three against the Bobcats this season, winning both times in Brooklyn. When the Bobcats beat the Nets in Charlotte on Nov. 20, it snapped a four-game home losing streak in this series.

03/26 09:56:39 ET

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