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Morrow Reloads After Misfires, Aims Toward Victory

January 21st, 2011

NEWARK, N.J.In a game so mundane no player scored more than 16 points, the Nets made easy work of the Detroit Pistons, 89-74. The Nets made half of their field goals (36-72) while the Pistons only made a third of theirs (25-75).

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Morrow Reloads After Misfires, Aims Toward Victory
Friday night at Prudential Center, the man they call Ammo had to reload four times before firing on target, aim rusty after more than a month spent on the sidelines. Anthony Morrows fifth attempt, fittingly, was a three-pointer from the right wing, the open look created by Jordan Farmars trap-splitting pass to Kris Humphries, who one-touched the ball to Morrow.

The Nets third-quarter lead over the Pistons had dropped from seven to four, and the team had used 20 of the 22.8 seconds remaining in the period.

Nets fans, theyve seen this one before.

They saw it again. Morrows shot swished, and the Nets entered the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead that only expanded from there. Trigger recalibrated, Morrow opened the final period with a three-basket flurry, adding two catch-and-shoot jumpers along with a second triple, totaling 10 points (4-8 FGs, 2-3 3Ps) in 14 minutes as the Nets beat the Pistons, 89-74.

I had to get (those misses) out of the way, Morrow said, smiling. I told Jordan Im going to be aggressive so I just wanted to get those first few shots out of the way and just kept plugging. I was glad I could contribute and help the team win.

Coach Avery Johnson nearly ended Morrows night early, intending to pull the sharpshooting two-guard at the end of the fourth quarter, before the late-third-period three ticked points back onto the pile. That earned him an extra four minutes in the fourth, enabling him to close out the game, as Johnson put it afterward.

The pedestrian-but-powerful point total was one of many on a Net roster that totaled 89 points without any one player topping 15. Brook Lopez led the way, scoring 12 of his team-high 15 in the first half, and 11 of the 12 players scoring at least one basket. Humphries posted his team-leading 13th double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Devin Harris (5-7 FGs) nearly joined him with a 12-point, nine-assist performance.

More impressive, though, was a three-play stretch of defensive dominance Harris led mindway through the fourth. With the Nets up 14, Harris turned the ball over in the frontcourt, but raced back to swat Will Bynums layup at the rim. After a three by Sasha Vujacic, Derrick Favors stayed with Chris Wilcox in the post, altering his layup and grabbing the rebound in the same motion. Though Travis Outlaw missed a jumper on the other end, Harris short-circuited the fast break by stepping in front of Bynum and drawing a charge.

The three plays Devin Harris made, thats worth three game balls, Johnson said. The blocked shots, the charges, the assists. Hes really been locked in. Thats the type of defense we know he can play.

Harris led a team-wide effort that limited the Pistons to .333 shooting, both from three-point range (4-of-12) and overall (25-of-75). The Nets forced 12 turnovers, converting them into 14 points, won the rebounding battle 44-35 and held the Pistons to 26 points in the paint (while scoring 38).

That all combined to result in a season-low opponent point total, field-goal percentage and second-half point total (33). Detroits 74 points proved their lowest single-game total since March 26, 2006 also against the Nets.

Im just trying to make the plays to get us over the top, Harris said. We dont want to give up any layups. Ive been turning the ball over a lot lately, so Im definitely trying to get the ball back when we do, and defensively, trying to set the tone.

Harris helped the team earn its 12th win 2 months earlier than they did a year ago, when it took a 127-116 victory against the Bulls on April 9 to push the Nets to that seasons final total. The point guard one of only three remaining players from that roster, along with Lopez and Humphries admitted that while the dubious milestone wasnt anything they were discussing in the locker room, it was in the back of his mind all season.

Johnson, meanwhile, drew upon it as a sign of the franchises progress in a positive direction as they build toward a planned move to Brooklyn in 2012.

Hey, its great, Johnson said. Its great. We love it. Believe me. We love it.

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