Notebook: Nets 102, Suns 100

Posted Mar 25, 2013 1:12 AM

By Mike Tulumello, for

THE FACTS: The Brooklyn Nets had gone 12 seasons without sweeping a pair of games from the Phoenix Suns. They picked a significant time to finally go 2-for-2, running up a comfortable leads and barely hanging on to beat an energized Suns' team 102-100 Sunday night in Phoenix.

The Nets (41-29) led 102-99 when they fouled the Suns' Goran Dragic with 3 seconds left. He made the first foul shot, then purposely drilled the second off the back of the rim. Suns' big man Hamed Haddadi grabbed the rebound, but he missed the potential game-tying follow shot.

Brooklyn got 20 points, 11 assists and just one turnover from Deron Williams. Brook Lopez shot just 6-for-16 for 21 points plus five rebounds. They also got 17 points and eight boards from reserve Kris Humphries, though he missed an uncontested dunk late that helped keep the Suns in the game. C.J. Watson, also playing off the bench, added 14 points.

The Nets overcame a brilliant game by Dragic, who had a season-high 31 points, plus a game-high 12 assists and a season-high nine rebounds.

Brooklyn led 55-43 at halftime, but the Suns -- often lethargic lately -- made a frenzied rally. Wesley Johnson, their biggest surprise since the All-Star break, scored 17 of his 21 points by hitting 5-for-6 on 3-pointers in the third quarter. He nailed four treys in the final 2:12 of the quarter as the Suns pulled ahead, 76-75. Still, the Nets were the better team in the end.

Joe Johnson, struggling with injuries, sat out for the Nets, as did the Suns' Jermaine O'Neal.

QUOTABLE: "Our bench was huge for us. C.J., [Humphries], all the way down the line. They really saved us."

--Brook Lopez

QUOTABLE II: "Of course, we are disappointed, but if we can have that type of effort every single night, we will take it,"

-- Suns coach Lindsey Hunter

QUOTABLE III: "We were very fortunate. [A 3-1 record] is great. But I'm a baby. I'm still upset we didn't get a win [Saturday] night."

-- Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo

THE STAT: The Nets got 45 points from their reserves (compared to 16 for the Suns).

TURNING POINT: With the game tied, 87-87 with 5:10 left, Williams hit a 25-foot pull-up jumper to give the Nets a 3-point lead. They led, narrowly, the rest of the way largely because they hit 6-for-7 at the line.

QUOTABLE IV: "If you look at what he's done since the [February heel] injury, it hasn't been the same Joe Johnson."

-- P.J. Carlisemo on the injured Johnson

HOT: The Nets hit 28-for-31 from the free-throw line.

NOT: The Suns' Morris twins combined to shoot 5-for-22, with Markieff Morris 5-for-18 and Marcus Morris 0-for-4. Markieff, though, had 15 rebounds.

ROOKIE WATCH: For the Suns, Kendall Marshall shot 1-for-4 and had two points plus three assists and zero turnovers in 10 minutes.

NOTABLE: The Nets are 27-15 under Carlesimo, who took over from Avery Johnson on Dec. 27. ... The Nets are eyeing putting the wraps on the home-court advantage in the playoffs' first round. The win means they maintain a two-game lead over the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 4 spot in the East and moves them within two games of No. New York and No. 3 Indiana. ...The Nets now are 3-1 halfway through their season-long, eight-game trip.

UP NEXT: For the Nets, Wednesday @ Portland, Friday @ Denver, Saturday @ Utah. For the Suns, Wednesday @ Utah, Thursday vs. Kings, Saturday vs. Pacers.