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Charlotte Bobcats vs. New Jersey Nets preview -- Game 53

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The Big Picture: The New Jersey Nets are an interesting test of patience for their fans. Unless Brook Lopez makes a delayed leap, like Andrew Bogut, he's probably not going to be quite good enough to be the centerpiece of a Finals team. But though that dream is fading, Lopez, along with Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, and others form a core that could easily support a superstar deep into the playoffs. But unless Derrick Favors is that superstar, or Carmelo Anthony agrees to join them, or whoever, they're going to be a borderline playoff team in the best possible world.

Assuming the Bobcats' most likely path to a championship is through drafting a superstar, we're in much the same boat, only our current core's window is closing, while the Nets' supporting cast could be around for a long time.

Musical Interlude: Cake -- "Sick of You"


Key to Victory: Once again, the Cats will face a super-quick point guard in Harris. His past two games were pretty awful, but this season, he's changed the way he plays, shifting focus from scoring to distributing, with positive results. D.J. Augustin will be hard-pressed to figure out a way to contain him, and he'll have a tough time matching him on offense, too.

Kwame Brown will be back with the team after leaving to attend to a death in the family, so the Cats have their full compliment of bigs to throw at Lopez, Favors, Kris Humphries, and Johan Petro (minus Tyrus Thomas, of course).

Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Avery Johnson played 16 seasons in the NBA as a guard, and had five seasons with an average or above-average PER.