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Nets 102, Suns 100

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Brook Lopez scored 21 points and Deron Williams scored seven of his 20 in the final five minutes as the Brooklyn Nets blew a 16-point third quarter lead but regrouped to outlast the Phoenix Suns 102-100 Sunday night.

Kris Humphries added 17 points off the bench for the Nets, who won without the injured Joe Johnson and rebounded from a loss Saturday at the Los Angeles Clippers to win for the seventh time in the last 10 games.

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

The Suns took an 84-81 lead on Jared Dudley's jumper with 8:08 left to go and tied it for the final time at 87 on two Dragic free throws with 5:53 left. But Williams drilled a three-pointer 24 seconds later to put the Nets up for good.

The Nets played without Johnson, who suffered a right quad contusion in a collision with Clippers forward Blake Griffin in Saturday's 101-95 loss in Los Angeles. He has also been playing through a left heel injury that has plagued him for a few weeks and coach P.J. Carlesimo said it was time to shut Johnson down.

The first quarter was a 25-25 draw and the two teams mirrored each other. Deron Williams had six assists and helped set up Kris Humphries (nine points) and Brook Lopez (six) inside, while Dragic had six assists for the Suns and helped P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris and Luis Scola collected a combined 20 points.

But when the teams turned to their benches in the second quarter, the Nets took over. Andray Blatche had eight points during a 15-6 Brooklyn run to open the period, and the Nets pushed their lead to a dozen twice and led 55-43 at the half.

The lead reached 59-43 two minutes into the third quarter before Johnson hit his first three-pointer of the night -- and before he finished the third quarter on fire. He hit four three-pointers over the final 2:12, and his 25-footer with the shot clock winding down gave the Suns a 76-75 lead to end the quarter.

NOTES: With Johnson's numbers dipping noticeably since the All-Star Break, Carlesimo said it was important for him to take some time. "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 entered Sunday's game with a 4-3 record in the last seven games against teams with a winning record. They were 1-5 against sub-.500 teams over the same span. ... Dragic was looking to 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 Seattle in 1990. Chambers managed the feat without making a single three-point shot, something that has only been repeated once in the last 23 years (the Los Angeles Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal against the Clippers in 2000).
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