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Nets 101, Hornets 97

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Deron Williams scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the first half and nailed a decisive 3-pointer from the left wing as part of an 11-point offensive flurry in the final 1:24 left to power the Brooklyn Nets to a 101-97 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night at the New Orleans Arena.

The Nets (34-24) led by as many as 22 points in the first half based on their torrid 62 percent shooting, but New Orleans closed within 86-82 with 4:01 left on a drive by Greivis Vasquez, who subsquently missed a foul shot.

Williams' 3-pointer put the Nets up 93-84, added an 18-foot jumper on Brooklyn's next possession and then buried 6 of 6 from the free throw line to put the game away.

The Hornets (20-38) used an 18-7 run in the first 7:53 of the third quarter to close the deficit to 66-59, but C.J. Watson responded with a driving layup and wide-open 3-pointers from the left baseline to pad the Brooklyn lead to 71-59.

During the run, Hornets rookie forward Anthony Davis got his arm tangled under the basket, and he left the game with an injury to his left shoulder. Davis stayed on the bench with an ice wrap and did not return.

Playing without guard Joe Johnson for the third consecutive game, the Nets led 76-65 following Keith Bogans' 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, but New Orleans, using a three-guard lineup, went on a 15-8 spurt to draw within 84-80 with 5:18 left.

Williams was playing with sore ankles and a sore wrist, but he didn't seem fazed in the least by exploding for 20 first-half points as the Nets, who led by as many as 22 points, raced to a 57-41 lead at the break.

Williams made 7 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. He gave Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez fits, driving at will and then spotting up for open jumpers. Williams did most of his damage in the first quarter, scoring 14 points and dishing out three assists.

The Nets, who scored only 72 points in a loss to Memphis on Sunday, shot 62 percent from the floor in the first half (23 of 37) and had 17 assists. The Hornets, meanwhile, shot just 39.5 percent from the floor.

Nets center Brook Lopez got the best of his twin brother Robin in the first half, outscoring him 10-6 and adding three blocks. Robin Lopez had won four of the first five head-to-head meetings with his brother.

NOTES: Shooting guard Joe Johnson, who missed the last two games with plantar fasciitis in his left heel, did not play. ... Entering Tuesday night's game, Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo was 19-10 since taking over for Avery Johnson, who was 14-14 before being fired. "More individuals are playing better," Carlesimo said. "We're playing more the way we played in November than the way we played in December. We were a pretty good team in December, and we got away from that." ... Carlesimo left open the possibility of more minutes down the stretch for veteran forward Jerry Stackhouse. "Stack strongly helped us win some games early in the year, and I think that potential is there, especially if we're fortunate enough to make the playoffs," Carlesimo said. "His experience becomes possibly even more valuable." ... New Orleans coach Monty Williams said his team's 103.3 point average in the last three games was attributable to playing quick-shooting teams: Cleveland, Dallas and Sacramento. "Teams who score like that throughout the league are usually playing against teams that shoot early in the clock," Williams said. "That gives you so many more possessions. And the other thing is Anthony (Davis) running the floor gives you early looks at the basket. That helps us out."
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