NEW YORK (AP) — Neither Shaun Livingston nor the Nets were expecting to see the backup point guard playing this many minutes in his first season in Brooklyn.
On a team dealing with a rash of injuries all season, Livingston has been one of the key figures in the Nets' revival after a dismal start.
Starting alongside Deron Williams with All-Star guard Joe Johnson sidelined, Livingston's seventh steal of the night with 5.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter helped sealed Brooklyn's win 108-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
"I've been on the wings obviously guarding some of the better scorers, but just trying to be active, be disruptive and help my teammates," said Livingston, who also had 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Paul Pierce scored 25 points and Deron Williams added 21 for the Nets, who stopped a three-game losing streak.
The Nets saw their first big lead of the night, a 15-point advantage, go to waste in the first half as Philadelphia managed to take a 44-37 late in the second quarter before Brooklyn answered back with a 17-5 run to head into the half with a 54-49 lead.
Brooklyn then seemed like it was about to run away with the game with a strong start to the third quarter, relying on its defense to force some key turnovers. After a bad pass turnover by Philadelphia's Tony Wroten, Livingston found Williams for a 3-pointer that made it 78-59 with 4:21.
Trailing 84-69 to start the fourth quarter, the 76ers made nine of 10 shots and James Anderson's 3-pointer made it 104-102 with 22 seconds left.
Pierce, who made all 14 free throws, hit a pair after Michael Carter-Williams fouled him to increase Brooklyn's lead to 106-102 and Livingston sealed the victory by intercepting Carter-Williams' pass, Philadelphia's 26th turnover of the night, and converting a pair of free throws to put it away.
Livingston has come a long way since that awful knee injury almost seven years ago as a 21-year-old with the Los Angeles Clippers.
In 45 games for the Nets, the 6-foot-7 point guard has averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 assists over 24.6 minutes. As a starter, he's logged 29.2 minutes in 23 games, posting 9.4 points, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game, showing flashes of the player that was supposed to be part of the Clippers' future before his injury.