NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Deron Williams snapped out of a lackluster second half in time to save the Brooklyn Nets from a painful collapse.
One game after coming up empty in the final minutes of a close loss to Memphis, Williams scored for 11 of his 33 points in the final 1:24 in New Orleans, and the Nets snapped a two-game skid by holding off the Hornets, 101-97 on Tuesday night.
"I especially wanted to step up after how the last game went down the stretch for me personally," Williams said. "It feels good to get it going, especially down the stretch and be able to close out a game. It's something I've kind of struggled with this year and I was really successful at it most of my career, so it feels good to be able to finally have a game like that."
Williams was coming off a game against the Grizzlies in which he went scoreless during the last six minutes, with one shot blocked and a turnover with 10.9 seconds left with his team trailing 74-72.
After scoring 20 points in the first half in New Orleans, Williams had only one basket during the next 22:36 as the Hornets nearly erased a deficit that had been as large as 22. Then Williams drained a timely 3, added a fadeaway jumper, and followed that with six free throws in the final 18.7 seconds to seal it.
"He played a great game. That's why he's an All-Star," Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "When he plays like that, we are hard to beat."
It was a timely performance as well. Joe Johnson missed his third straight game with a sore left heel after going through warm-ups with the hope of coming back. Brooklyn had lost its last two without him.
"We thought he was going to go tonight until right before the game," Williams said. "So that was kind of a blow and I just wanted to be there for my team."
Brook Lopez added 20 points and four blocks while playing against his twin brother, Robin, and Keith Bogans added 12 points for Brooklyn, hitting all four of his shots, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Williams made four of his eight 3-point attempts, and the Nets shot 60 percent (12 of 20) from long range as a team.
Greivis Vasquez scored 20 and Robin Lopez 14 for New Orleans, which has lost four of five.
"They just kind of jumped on us early," Robin Lopez said. "It was a combination of their aggressiveness and they hit a few jumpers."
The Nets hit seven of their first nine shots in racing to a 17-8 lead. By the end of the opening quarter, Williams had 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, and Brooklyn led 31-20.