Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Bench leads Johnson-less Nets past Suns

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- With Joe Johnson missing and the team playing on a second consecutive night, the Brooklyn Nets knew they would need help from their bench to avoid a second straight loss.

Kris Humphries, playing for only the second time since March 2, contributed 17 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes, C.J. Watson had 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter, and the Nets regrouped to outlast the Phoenix Suns 102-100 Sunday night.

Brooklyn blew a 16-point, third-quarter lead before bouncing back for the win.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 21 points, and Deron Williams had seven of his 20 down the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 5:53 left to give Brooklyn the lead for good at 90-87.

"We got a lot of points off the bench tonight (45), and that's just how it has to be sometimes to get wins," said Humphries, whose point total was a season high. "I was a little stiff, and it took me awhile to get loose, but my teammates found me with passes, and I hit some free throws to start and roll with it."

Goran Dragic came within a rebound of his second career triple-double and first as a Sun, finishing with 31 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. Wesley Johnson added 21 points -- 17 of them in the third quarter, when he singlehandedly shot the Suns back in the game with five 3-pointers.

The Suns (23-48) had 25 offensive rebounds, and the last one gave them a chance to send the game to overtime. With Phoenix down 102-100, Dragic missed the second of two free throws on purpose, and Hamed Haddadi grabbed the rebound. However, Haddadi rushed his put-back attempt and missed, allowing the Nets (41-29) to escape with their seventh win in the past 10 games.

"Of course we are disappointed we lost, but if we can have that type of effort every single night, we will take it," Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter said. "Goran and P.J. Tucker (14 points, eight rebounds) were unbelievable. Every single minute."

Joe Johnson was out due to a right quad contusion he suffered in a collision with Clippers forward Blake Griffin during Brooklyn's 101-95 loss in Los Angeles on Saturday. He also has been playing through a left heel injury that has plagued him for a few weeks.

"Everyone gave us good minutes -- C.J., Hump, all the way down the line. They really saved us," Lopez said. "Considering the way we lost last night, at the end of the game and in crunch time, it was good that we won the way we did tonight."

After the teams played to a 25-25 draw after one period, the Brooklyn bench took over in the second. Andray Blatche had eight points during a 15-6 Brooklyn run to open the period, and the Nets led 55-43 at the half.

The lead reached 59-43 two minutes into the third quarter before Wesley Johnson caught fire and got the Suns back in it. Johnson hit four of his five 3-pointers over the final 2:12 of the quarter, and his 25-footer with the shot clock winding down gave the Suns a 76-75 lead with 8.3 seconds left.

"It felt really good to just go out here and really get my confidence and assert myself," Johnson said. "They kept saying just get the ball, shoot it, look to score and be aggressive. I wasn't thinking. I was just out there playing and shooting, and Goran was finding me."

However, Johnson cooled off in the fourth quarter, missing six of seven shots, and the Suns missed 16 of 25 shots as a team.

NOTES: With Joe Johnson's numbers dipping noticeably since the All-Star Break, Carlesimo said it was important for him to take some time off. "Every time I ask Joe how he feels, he says, 'It's OK.' He wants to play, which is good. He doesn't want to use it as an excuse. If you look at the numbers ... it's not the same Joe. We need to get Joe Johnson back, healthy." ... Phoenix continues to play the better teams tough. The Suns are 4-4 in their past eight games against teams with winning records. They are 1-5 against sub-.500 teams over the same span. ... Dragic set a career high with five straight games of 10 or more assists. ... Sunday marked the 23rd anniversary of Tom Chambers' franchise-record, 60-point game against the Seattle SuperSonics in 1990. Chambers managed the feat without making a single 3-point shot, something that has only been repeated once in the past 23 years (by the Los Angeles Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal against the Clippers in 2000).
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (1)