Nets 110, Thunder 93By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Jan 2, 2013 10:40 PM EST
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Joe Johnson exploded for 33 points as Brooklyn ended Oklahoma City's 12-game home win streak with a 110-93 victory Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The win was the second for the Nets since P.J. Carlesimo was named interim head coach. But the performance may have been Brooklyn's best of the season as it never trailed the entire night. After falling behind by 23 points in the first half, the Thunder stormed back in the second half to make a game of it. In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City tied the score at 85-85 on consecutive 3-pointers from Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin with seven minutes left. However, Johnson answered with a jumper over Durant and Keith Bogans was fouled and knocked down two free throws to start an 8-0 run for the Nets. Oklahoma City was unable to get any closer as Brooklyn continued to have its way. With 1:57 left in the game, Durant was ejected and Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks emptied his bench. Deron Williams scored 19 points and dished out 13 assists for the Nets (17-15). Brook Lopez added 25 points. Durant led Oklahoma City (24-7) with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. Russell Westbrook chipped in with 26 points and 10 assists in the loss. Johnson and Lopez had their way early with the Thunder's defense. Lopez took advantage of Kendrick Perkins in the low post and Johnson had his midrange jumper going. Brooklyn held a 33-19 advantage heading into the second quarter. The Nets pushed their lead to 23 midway through the second as Oklahoma City continued to struggle defensively. It was them most points the Thunder have trailed by the entire season. Johnson continued his onslaught of Thabo Sefolosha. He needed the first half with 20 points. Serge Ibaka attempted to keep the Thunder close as he attacked the boards and found room in the paint to work. He also knocked down a 3-pointer to cut lead down to 14 points. But it made only a slight dent in the Nets momentum as Brooklyn held a 61-45 lead at halftime. Oklahoma City slowly crept back into the game in the third quarter behind Westbrook's offensive wizardry and overall team defense. The shots the Nets had been getting in the first half were taken away completely by swarming Oklahoma City defenders. The Thunder held the Nets to 15 points in the third quarter and trailed by only four heading into the fourth quarter. NOTES: Carlesimo made his return to Oklahoma City for the first time as a head coach since he was fired during the 2008-09 season. He coached the first 13 games of the Thunder's history and compiled a 1-12 record. He was replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Scott Brooks. Four years later, Brooks has a long-term contract with the Thunder and Carlesimo is the interim coach with the Nets after replacing Avery Johnson, who was fired Dec. 27. "I was around P.J. for a year and half," Brooks said. "He's an excellent coach. He understands the situation at hand and I'm sure he's going to do well. You want him to have success because he's a good guy." ... After sitting out Monday's 104-73 loss to San Antonio with a bruised left knee, Brooklyn's Gerald Wallace was back in the starting lineup in Oklahoma City. The 30-year-old forward is averaging 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3 assists and almost two steals. ... In Carlesimo's final season with the Thunder, he drafted Russell Westbrook. He remembered how much discussion the organization had surrounding the draft pick. "I think they felt from the beginning (Westbrook) was too special not to take," Carlesimo said. "We didn't feel we needed a point guard. There were guys at other positions that we felt we needed at the time. But they just said this guy has a chance to be too special for us to let him go. So he has turned out the way they thought he was going to turn out."
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