Williams, Johnson lead Nets over Bobcats, 99-78
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The third quarter has been the Brooklyn Nets' Achilles heel of late.
However, on Wednesday night it proved to be their saving grace.
The Nets shrugged off a sluggish first half and turned a 10-point halftime deficit into a 99-78 blowout win over the Charlotte Bobcats, reminding everyone they still have the ability to flip that switch.
Deron Williams had 20 points and eight assists, Joe Johnson added 22 points and the Nets limited the NBA-worst Bobcats 25 in the second half on 10-of-40 shooting. Brooklyn outscored Charlotte 28-9 in the third quarter.
"We hit shots and got stops in the second half, that was the main thing," Williams said. "We had some good looks in the first half but we just didn't knock them down."
Brooklyn (35-26) remains in the thick of Eastern Conference playoff race but needed a win to regain some momentum after losing four of its previous five games, including the previous two.
This was an expected win, but a needed win for the Nets.
They have a lengthy road trip later this month, so there's a belief in the locker room that every win they can get now will be important as they look ahead to the playoff seeding. They came in tied for the fifth-best record in the conference.
"It was good for us to get a win and bounce back," Williams said.
The Nets trailed by 53-43 at the half, but opened the third quarter with a 21-6 run led by Williams and Johnson, and never looked back. The Bobcats managed just nine points in the third quarter on 3-of-19 shooting and were outscored 56-25 in the second half to lose their eighth straight game.
Reggie Evans grabbed 16 rebounds and Brook Lopez had 16 points and five rebounds for the Nets.
"It was passion, not effort," said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo. "We didn't play with near the same passion that we did in the second half. Reggie was, I thought, unbelievable, not just in rebounding but the effort on the splits and the helping. Brook was contesting shots. Our guards did a much better job in the second half."
Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and Ben Gordon added 16 for the Bobcats, who are 6-43 since starting the season 7-5.
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