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Sergey Karasev cracks Nets' starting lineup and might stick

Sergey Karasev of the Brooklyn Nets controls the

Sergey Karasev of the Brooklyn Nets controls the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Sergey Karasev is still making the most of his opportunity and is playing like someone who doesn't want to go back to a reserve role any time soon.

Making his fourth consecutive start at shooting guard, Karasev matched his career high with 11 points before leaving the Nets' 95-91 loss to the Heat in the third quarter because of a sore left side. He has racked up 42 points in his last five outings, averaging 8.4 points, after totaling just two points in his first six games this season.

"I feel good and I see that my teammates trust me," Karasev said. "So I am trying to be aggressive. I only had three shots last game and everybody said just be aggressive, and that's what I tried to do, and tried to be aggressive as well on defense."

Karasev said he got banged up in the first quarter and played through it until it began bothering him too much. He's calling himself 50-50 for Wednesday night's nationally-televised matchup against the Raptors in Toronto.

"I feel all right," Karasev said. "I will try to be back as soon as possible. The muscle is tight a little bit, so I feel a little bit better with the medicine, So I will try to be back next game."

The last thing Lionel Hollins wanted to see was the Nets ship Karasev out of town, only for the second-year European import to flourish in another uniform. So as rookie Bojan Bogdanovic was struggling to find any sort of consistent rhythm, and with Karasev showing Hollins a little something in practice, the Nets coach elected to switch things up and inserted Karasev into the starting lineup in Bogdanovic's place a week ago.

"The way you get to be in the lineup, is you say 'Coach play me, you've got to play me' by your performance, and he was doing that [in practice]," Hollins said. "I put him in the Cleveland game, and he played extremely well and I decided we need to make change. We were floundering -- three, four in a row, whatever we lost -- and I just thought, 'Where are we going? Might as well take a look and see because he's a guy that's a young guy and you've got to know all your young guys, whether they can play or not.

"Because in this league you don't want to trade away a young guy that hasn't had the opportunity to show what he can do, and then he goes to another team, and you had him already. So that was kind of my thought process and 'Bogie' was treading water and [Karasev's] played well. 'Bogie' has played better coming off the bench."

Home not so sweet

Ice-cold shooting at home has been a problem and Tuesday was no different. After nailing only 39 percent of their attempts from the floor versus the Heat, the Nets are shooting 44.1 percent overall, 33.9 percent from beyond the arc and 71.7 from the free-throw line. Save for a 0.4 improvement shooting threes on the road compared to home, the Nets have been worse offensively at the Barclays Center.

"I don't know what to say about it," Joe Johnson said. "I think we just have to do better as a team and as players. Whether it's getting your shots up when we have a shootaround or before the game, we have to do whatever it takes. We can't be bad at home. This is where you have to come out and know you're going to win.

Nets pay tribute

In a pregame ceremony, the Nets honored superfan Jeffrey Vanchiro, also known as Jeffrey Gamblero, who died Sunday from injuries sustained in a fall.

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