No wins have come easy for the Nets in the past three years, but they had no trouble disposing of the Charlotte Bobcats Sunday night at The Rock.
The Nets bounced back from an ugly offensive performance in a loss to Oklahoma City the previous night with a 97-87 win over the Bobcats.
The Bobcats trimmed the Nets’ lead to seven with 1:07 left in the game, but the win was never in doubt for New Jersey.
Deron Williams finished one rebound shy of a triple-double. The guard collected 19 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.
Williams has never tallied a triple-double.
Why the offensive turnaround ?
“It wasn’t the best defensive team we played against,” Williams said bluntly.
Rookie MarShon Brooks emphasized the team’s desire to put the Oklahoma City game behind them.
“We didn’t really like the way we played last night,” Brooks said. “It was real important that we came out and played well. When your whole team plays so bad as we did yesterday, it’s a big confidence booster (to rebound).”
Williams took advantage of his match-up with smaller guards Kemba Walker and D.J. Augustin.
“There was two small guys out there and coach did a good job of exploiting that and running some post-up plays for me to get going,” Williams said.
Brooks scored a game-high 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting
The Nets started fast and padded their cushion through the night.
They led by as many as 19 points when Brooks buried a long fadeaway jumper from the right wing with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter.
With their third straight game coming in Chicago on Monday night, Avery Johnson utilized a zone defense to take some pressure off his players.
“It’s just part of the business,” Williams said about the third straight game. “We have to try and go in there fighting against a great team.”
The Nets’ offense struggled in the third quarter, but they managed to outscore the Bobcats by two and lead, 75-61.
After a strong first half, Williams shot 0-of-5 in the third quarter. He managed just two points and three assists in the second half.
The Nets also withstood a 9-0 Bobcats’ run that that cut their lead to 62-53.
Guards Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar picked up the scoring slack in the third, combining for nine points off the bench. The duo finished the game with 19 and 13 points, respectively.
Johnson credited Farmar, specifically for acclimating himself into this offense after his days in the triangle with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Jordan’s playing, and I told him this after the game last night even though we lost the game, that he’s playing his best basketball as a Net,” Johnson said. “He’d been in a triangle system for a long time.. He’s getting much more comfortable.
“He’s really doing a good job of quarterbacking the team, especially when he subs for Deron.”
The Nets closed the first half on a 14-4 run and led, 58-42.
The Bobcats opened the game with a 7-0 run, but that did not deter the Nets. They responded with a quick 10-2 run to capture a 10-9 lead.
Williams sparked an offense that was dormant against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He scored 17 points and dished out seven assists in the first half.
He was matched by first-year guard Kemba Walker, however.
Walker scored seven points in the first 5:38 of the game. Walker led Charlotte with 16 points.
Walker, the UConn product, came into the game averaging 11.1 ppg and 3.2 apg.
He and Williams both scored 11 points apiece in the first quarter.