Phoenix Suns' Marcus Morris (15) knocks the ball loose from Brooklyn Nets' MarShon Brooks (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Monday, March 25, 2013 12:23 am
Nets escape with 102-100 victory over lowly Suns
By BOB BAUMAP Sports Writer
The Suns' Goran Dragic fell a rebound shy of his second career triple-double with 31 points, 12 assists and nine boards. He was a point short of his career scoring high.
Brook Lopez added 20 points, Kris Humphries 17 and C.J. Watson 14 for the Nets, playing without Joe Johnson, who bruised his thigh in Brooklyn's loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
The Suns had a chance at the end when Dragic purposely missed the second of two free with 3 seconds left and Phoenix's Hamed Haddadi controlled the rebound. But the big Iranian's shot was off the mark.
Brooklyn improved to 3-1 halfway through a streak of eight consecutive road games.
Wesley Johnson added 21 points - including 5 of 9 3-pointers - for the Suns, who were coming off consecutive blowout losses at home to Washington and Minnesota.
Down by 16 early in the third quarter, the Suns mounted a comeback behind Dragic's floor play and the shooting of Johnson, who finished the period with four consecutive 3s to put Phoenix up 76-75 entering the fourth.
Johnson's first 3 in the barrage cut it to 69-67, his second made it 71-70, his third 74-73 and his fourth, with 8.1 seconds left, gave Phoenix its one-point lead after three.
After Dragic's two free throws tied it at 87-87 with 5:53 to play, Williams' 3-pointer put Brooklyn up for good 90-87 with 5:08 to go.
Williams' driving layup m de it 99-95 with 2:12 to play, then Johnson's 22-footer sliced it to 99-97 with 1:45 remaining.
Phoenix had several chances after that, but missed a trio of shots in a row after two offensive rebounds, the last a 16-footer by Dragic with 27 seconds left.
Gerald Wallace, with cotton stuffed into his right nostril, missed the first of two free throws but made the second and the Nets led 100-97 with 14 seconds to play.
Dragic drove for two to make it 100-99 with 6.8 seconds to go. Watson made two free throws to put Brooklyn ahead 102-99 6.3 from the finish. Dragic was fouled with 3 seconds left, made the first free throw, then lined the second off the rim. The 7-foot-2 Haddadi got the rebound but his shot was too hard off the backboard and the Nets escaped.
Brooklyn finished the first half on a 15-7 run, capped by Humphries' three-point play with 23.1 seconds left, to lead 55-43.
Williams scored the first four points of the third quarter to stretch the lead to 59-43, the Nets' largest of the night.
Notes: Dragic reached double digits in assists for a career-best fifth game in a row. His 11 double-digit assist efforts since the All-Star break are second only to Milwaukee's 12 and Jennings has played one more game. ... The Nets' eight consecutive road games match a career long. They will be on the road for seven straight games, then return home before traveling to the eighth game, April 3 at Cleveland. ... Brooklyn's next home game is April 4 against Chicago. ... Phoenix was without C Jermaine O'Neal because of a calf strain. ... Hall of famer Julius Erving had a courtside seat.