Notebook: Nets 91, Timberwolves 83



Posted Jan 23, 2013 11:58 PM

Phil Miller, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Brook Lopez scored 22 points, 10 of them in the first six minutes, as the Brooklyn Nets opened a quick 12-point lead to win in Minneapolis for the first time in more than a decade, handing the Minnesota Timberwolves a 91-83 loss in Target Center. The Nets, who improved to 12-2 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, outscored the Wolves 14-2 in the first four minutes and never trailed, breaking an eight-game losing streak in Minnesota. Brooklyn guards Joe Johnson and Deron Williams added 18 points apiece, while Andrei Kirikenko led Minnesota with 15 points. Wolves guard Ricky Rubio did not play in the fourth quarter, at one point called back from the scorers' table when fill-in coach Terry Porter elected to stick with J.J. Barea, and the second-year guard was visibly angry on the bench, with teammates trying to calm him down.

QUOTABLE: "TP preferred to play the players we were playing. I don't know what to say. ... I didn't like it, but he did what he thinks is best for the team. I want to know what happened. We're going to talk."
-- Ricky Rubio

THE STAT: 4 -- Free throws made by Minnesota, in six attempts, both season lows. Free throws are an essential part of the Wolves' game -- only the Lakers, Thunder, Nuggets and Bobcats have shot more free throws -- and the Nets' ability to defend Minnesota without fouling helped shut down the Wolves' offense.

TURNING POINT: The Wolves used a 14-7 run to pull within two points, 68-66, early in the fourth quarter, but Brooklyn guard C.J. Watson made sure it got no closer. The Nets ran four plays for Watson in six possessions, producing one open look from 20 feet or farther after another, and the sixth-year guard nailed them all. Watson scored nine consecutive points in a three-minute span to restore Brooklyn's nine-point lead.

QUOTABLE II: "I'll probably be sitting in my room with the lights turned off, doing nothing."
-- Brook Lopez on what he will be doing when the All-Star reserves are announced on Thursday.

HOT: With three minutes left in the first half, Deron Williams had scored only two points, and had been mostly passive against the Wolves' small guards. But when Rubio checked in to guard Williams, Brooklyn's leader seemed to realize he needed to step forward. Williams repeatedly took the ball and created his own shot against Rubio, bewildering the Wolves' guard with a nine-point flurry of jumpers and drives to close the half.

NOT: Barea couldn't contain Watson, who scored nine straight points to open the fourth quarter for Brooklyn, but that wasn't the only embarrassing defensive lapse the 6-foot Wolves guard suffered. In trying to stay with Watson during that stretch, Barea also committed five fouls (one of them offensive) in less than four minutes.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Chris Johnson, Minnesota's D-League find, finally missed a shot on Wednesday (he made all six shots he took in his first two games with the Wolves), but the second-year center from LSU had a big impact once more. Johnson, whose energy under the basket helped limit Nets big men Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche to a combined 4-for-16 shooting, made 6-of-10 shots for 12 points, to go with six rebounds and three blocked shots.

NOTABLE: More than a decade had passed since the Nets' most recent victory in Minneapolis, a 96-82 New Jersey victory on Nov. 23, 2002. The Timberwolves had beaten the Nets at Target Center eight consecutive times, and are now 17-5 at home against the Nets. ... Nets guard Deron Williams told reporters after shootaround on Wednesday that he doesn't believe there is any truth to a new round of trade rumors about center Brook Lopez. "Brook is our center. Brook is having an All-Star year, so I don't see Brook going anywhere," Williams said ... Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed his ninth game to be with his wife Mary Kay, who has been hospitalized. Terry Porter is now 2-7 while filling in for Adelman. ... Guard Alexey Shved and center Nikola Pekovic missed their third straight game Wednesday, though both players say they are making progress after being injured last Thursday against the Clippers. Shved, who sprained an ankle in that game, and Pekovic, who suffered a bruised thigh, have yet to practice at full-speed, and Porter said the decision to keep both players out of uniform Wednesday was "not close."

UP NEXT: For the Nets, Friday @ Memphis, Saturday @ Houston, Monday vs. Orlando. For the Timberwolves, Friday @ Washington, Saturday @ Charlotte, Wednesday vs. L.A. Clippers.