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Nets stay hot, turn away Bobcats
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Deron Williams' 25 points and eight assists led the way in the Brooklyn Nets' 10th consecutive win at the Barclays Center, a 104-99 decision over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Joe Johnson added 20 points and Shaun Livingston finished with 17 in the resurgent Nets' ninth victory in their last 11 overall. Brooklyn hasn't lost at home since a 120-95 shellacking by Oklahoma City on Jan. 31.
Charlotte, which now leads Atlanta by just a half-game for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, was dealt a second straight loss following a four- game win streak despite Al Jefferson's 18 points and 12 rebounds. Gary Neal tallied 17 points off the bench in defeat.
After squandering a 10-point lead they held late in the third quarter, the Nets erased an 85-82 deficit with just over six minutes to play behind a 10-2 run spearheaded by Williams.
The standout point guard recorded the first seven points of the pivotal flurry, starting it with a finger-roll layup and burying a three moments later before coming up with a steal and two free throws that staked Brooklyn to an 89-85 edge with 5:22 to go.
"That's the Deron I'm used to seeing," said Nets center Andray Blatche.
A successful short jumper from Johnson soon afterward put the Nets ahead by five, 92-87, with 3:41 remaining.
Charlotte fought on, closing within 94-92 on Gerald Henderson's 3-pointer with 2:46 to play. The Nets' Paul Pierce and Neal then traded treys before Pierce drew a foul from Neal in the lane and converted the first attempt for a 98-95 lead with 1:18 left.
Kemba Walker's 3-point try on the other end rimmed out, and Williams came up with a clutch isolation jumper that made it a five-point game with 37.8 seconds showing.
Neal's triple with 17.8 seconds remaining gave the Bobcats a chance at 101-98, but Williams iced the game by sinking two free throws while finishing off an individual 11-point effort for the final period.
"If we're going to turn the ball over fifteen times, it's going to be hard for us to beat anybody," said Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford afterward. "Brooklyn is good at forcing turnovers, but we can't have the unforced ones that we had in the fourth quarter."
Down 75-65 with less than a minute left in the third, Charlotte embarked on a 12-2 spurt to draw even. Consecutive dunks by Cody Zeller brought the Bobcats within three before Chris Douglas-Roberts knocked down a beyond-the-arc shot that forged a 77-77 tie with 9:18 to go. Neal's three less than two minutes later put Charlotte ahead by an 82-80 count.
An 11-2 run, sparked by seven points from Williams, to close out the first half sent the Nets into the break owning a 54-46 lead.
Brooklyn had been ahead by 13 points earlier in the second quarter, when a Marcus Thornton trey staked the hosts to a 38-25 advantage 3:40 into the frame. The Bobcats countered with a 17-2 sequence, however, and grabbed a 42-40 edge on the last of back-to-back 3-pointers by Douglas-Roberts.
Charlotte fell to 0-4 all-time at the Barclays Center, dropping their first three visits to the venue by an average of 13.7 points ... Douglas-Roberts went 3-of-6 from 3-point range while scoring 13 points off the bench ... The Bobcats outrebounded Brooklyn by a 51-39 margin and finished with a 46-24 advantage in bench points ... Johnson's eight rebounds marked a season-best.
03/19 23:26:24 ET
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