The Brooklyn Nets are riding an eight-game home winning streak and face a big challenge Wednesday night versus LeBron James and the Miami Heat at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn hasn't lost at home since Christmas Day versus the Boston Celtics and opened a four-game residency Monday with a 97-77 triumph over the Orlando Magic. Deron Williams had 20 points and nine assists, while Brook Lopez added 16 points for Brooklyn, which is 17-7 at home and 13-4 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.
The Nets also halted a two-game slide and won for the 11th time in 14 tries.
"In the third quarter we weren't playing as a team, we were playing individually, and we're not the best when we're doing that," Williams said. "But in the fourth quarter we were moving the ball and getting wide open shots. That's the way we have to play."
Joe Johnson finished with 13 points and five assists in the win.
Brooklyn still has the Bulls and Lakers scheduled to visit Barclays Center, and last won nine straight as the hosts from March 15-April 6, 2006.
"We've taken care of the teams we're supposed to take care of. I don't see that being a problem," Williams said. "We haven't played as well as we need to against the upper echelon teams, the playoff teams. That's what we have to do a better job at. We have three tough games coming up at home."
Williams, who is probable with flu-like symptoms, said he is looking forward to playing the Heat after they defeated Brooklyn in the last meeting, and believes the Nets are a better team since facing the defending champions.
Miami will be the judge of that and looks to bounce back after having a four- game winning streak cut short with Sunday's 100-98 double-overtime loss against the Celtics.
James had 34 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, but it wasn't enough to lift the heat in the opener of a four-game road trip. Chris Bosh followed with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Dwyane Wade added 17 points and seven assists for Miami, which fell to 10-10 as the guest and were outscored, 13-11, in the overtime periods.
Former Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen made his return to Boston and finished with 21 points off the bench.
"It was very weird. Going to the other locker room," said Allen on his return to Beantown. "The whole year has been an adjustment. I'll always be a Celtic in mind regardless of what anyone else says."
The Heat will also visit Indiana and Toronto on the junket.
Meanwhile, James is averaging 30.7 points (184 total) over his last six games and shooting 58.5 percent in the past seven. He has scored in double-figures in 460 consecutive games, including 182 in a row with the Heat, who will finish with a record above .500 for a franchise-best 18th consecutive month.
Miami has won the first two meetings with the Nets this season and will be looking for a fourth straight season sweep. The Heat have won 12 in a row and 15 of 16 matchups with the Nets, losers in six straight and 10 of the last 11 as the host in this series.