Surging Nets post first win in Minnesota since 2002
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Not even a decade's worth of losing in Minnesota could slow down the surging Brooklyn Nets.
Brook Lopez scored a game-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds and the Nets captured their first win in Minneapolis since 2002 with a 91-83 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each netted 18 points, while Williams dished out eight assists in the Nets' third straight victory. C.J. Watson added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting off the bench in just 20 minutes of play.
Brooklyn improved to 12-2 under the leadership of interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who has the Nets within a half-game of the Atlantic Division- leading New York Knicks.
Ravaged by injuries, the Timberwolves were without All-Star Kevin Love for the 10th straight game and also did not have center Nikola Vucevic or guard Alexey Shved for the third consecutive contest.
Andrei Kirilenko tallied a team-high with 15 points, Dante Cunningham followed with 14 off the bench and Jose Juan Barea scored 11 with eight assists for the Timberwolves, who have lost seven of their last eight contests.
Despite being shorthanded, the Timberwolves were able to rally from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to come within two early in the fourth.
Back on Nov. 5, Minnesota overcame a 22-point hole to defeat the Nets in Brooklyn, but the Nets weren't about to let that happen again, as they would lead this contest wire-to-wire.
After Cunningham's jumper brought the Timberwolves within 70-68, Watson reeled off seven straight points, knocking down a triple between a pair of long jumpers to put Brooklyn back on top by nine.
Keeping Minnesota within striking distance, Barea finished a layup to pull the T'Wolves within three, but Johnson immediately responded for Brooklyn by burying a triple for an 80-74 advantage.
Barea continued to keep the Nets on their heels, knocking down a 3-pointer to bring the T'Wolves within 82-77 with just over 2 1/2 minutes remaining. However, they never came any closer.
Soon after, Williams followed Lopez's layup with a triple from the corner to stake the Nets to an 89-79 lead, all but sealing the victory.
The Nets got off to a strong start, taking an early 12-point lead after making nine of their first 12 shots from the field, which helped them to a 24-17 edge by the end of the first quarter.
Williams helped push the Nets' advantage to double-digits late in the second when he scored nine straight points. Lopez then added a layup to send Brooklyn into halftime with a 53-42 lead.
Brooklyn ended a eight-game losing streak in Minnesota and improved to 5-17 all-time at Target Center ... Minnesota is just 5-13 in its last 18 contests and 2-7 under assistant coach Terry Porter, who continues to coach the team as Rick Adelman cares for his sick wife ... Chris Johnson scored 12 points off the bench for Minnesota ... The T'Wolves outshot the Nets 45.8 percent to 44.0 percent for the night.
01/23 23:10:42 ET