Nets beat Lakers in Jason Collins' NBA return
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Deron Williams finished with 30 points, seven assists and six steals and the Brooklyn Nets ended their 11-game losing streak to the Los Angeles Lakers with a 108-102 wire-to-wire victory.
Paul Pierce made four of Brooklyn's 12 3-pointers and netted 25 points as the Nets bounced back from Saturday's loss to the Warriors and picked up their first win over LA since Nov. 25, 2007.
Although he didn't score, Jason Collins made history 1:32 into the second quarter when he checked into the game and became the first openly gay active player in one of North America's four major team sports. Collins, who signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn, played 10:37, missed the only shot he took, grabbed a pair of rebounds and committed five fouls.
"It felt fun. It feels good to get back out there on the court and help my teammates," said Collins, who had not played since Apr. 17, 2013. "As far as timing, it's going to take a few practices."
Pau Gasol totaled team highs of 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Jodie Meeks checked in with 19 points for the Lakers, who were trying to win back-to-back home games for the first time since November.
Pierce got going early, driving for two and hitting a 3 in the opening minute of the game en route to a 14-point showing in the first quarter. The veteran shot 5-of-5 from the field, including all three attempts from behind the arc, as the Nets jumped out to a 33-21 lead.
"I did not like our lack of toughness in the first half. We were like a sieve out there. You can't spot those guys that many points," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Brooklyn stayed in control and led 63-47 at halftime, but the Lakers made a run in the third quarter and pulled within six, 80-74, following a MarShon Brooks triple late in the frame.
Two Mirza Teletovic 3-pointers sent the Nets into the fourth with an 86-74 cushion, and Brooklyn held off one final Lakers push in the fourth.
Nick Young's bucket with 7:36 remaining had LA as close as 89-85, and the Nets answered with eight of the next nine points to rebuild the double-digit lead.
A pair of Williams baskets bookended the run, and when the margin was cut to two possessions again, Williams drove in for a layup and Joe Johnson followed with a 3-pointer to seal the outcome.
Collins revealed his sexuality nearly 10 months ago in an article he co-wrote for Sports Illustrated and had been a free agent since ... This was the Nets' final back-to-back set. They finished 3-10 in the second game ... Brooklyn is 7-2 against Western Conference teams since Jan. 1.
02/24 01:08:42 ET