For the first time, the Prudential Center felt like home for the New Jersey Nets as they defeated the Golden State Warriors, 107-100, on Wednesday night to net their first win at home in four tries.
The Nets, who won their first contest at the Rock since April 5, 2011, seemed invigorated after a day’s rest on Tuesday. The backcourt play of All-Star point guard Deron Williams and rookie sensation MarShon Brooks proved to be the difference in New Jersey’s first home win this season as the duo combined for 46 points. Williams scored 24 points –11 points coming in a crucial stretch of the fourth quarter– with 10 assists and eight rebounds. Brooks added a career-high 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Nets four wins have come when both players scored 20 or more points.
For the first time this season, New Jersey didn’t get off to a lousy start. The Nets held a seven-point first quarter lead for the first time all season and carried that energy throughout. According to ESPN Stats & Information, New Jersey shot 50 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and a season-best 87 percent from the free-throw line. They jumped out to an early 21-14 lead, but Golden State charged back and led 31-29 after one quarter. The Nets entered the fourth quarter trailing 83-80 of a Anthony Morrow 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third. The Warriors converted on two consecutive baskets when guard Klay Thompson hit a corner jumper to push the lead to 90-87, then Monta Ellis scored on an alley-oop from Thompson off a Nets turnover to give Golden State a five point lead, 92-87. New Jersey took control midway through the final period with a 12-4 run. Orchestrated by Williams, who scored six straight points in that stretch, on a long 3-pointer and three free throws after being fouled by Thompson, the Nets took a 93-92 lead with 6:42 left in the game. D.Will sealed the Nets victory with 3:26 remaining when he received a lucky bounce from the rim as his 3-pointer swished in to put N.J. up 105-96. Despite going scoreless for almost three minutes, the Nets held on to snap their two-game losing streak.
The Nets will need Williams and Brooks to carry the offensive burden as New Jersey awaits the return of Brook Lopez to the lineup, whose recovering from a fractured foot. The loss of Lopez, who averaged a career-best 20.4 points per game last season, has had a huge impact on the Nets frontcourt. Nets head coach Avery Johnson has had to try different lineups and has heavily relied on power forward Kris Humphries inside presence. Humphries had his fourth double-double of the season on Wednesday, with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Humphries held David Lee in check the entire game, as Lee finished with just 12 points, but contributed 10 rebounds. The Nets (4-11) will have two days off before facing Oklahoma City and the Charlotte Bobcats at home this weekend.
Ellis scored 30 points for Golden State, but in their fourth game in five nights the Warriors seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. The Warriors (5-9) had their two-game win streak snapped, both on their current road trip, on Wednesday. Thompson had 12 points and three assists off the bench and Dorell Wright added 17 points. Golden State with host the surging Indiana Pacers at home Friday.