Page last updated on Mon Dec 22 09:53:20 EST 2014
11/14/2012 12:44 AM EST
Williams, Johnson lead Nets over Cavaliers 114-101

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Brooklyn's Backcourt broke out.

Deron Williams had 26 points and 10 assists, Joe Johnson scored
25 points, and the Nets beat the road-weary Cleveland Cavaliers
114-101 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Expected to be one of the league's best guard tandems, Williams
and Johnson are still trying to find their way together in a new
home on a rebuilt team. They know games such as this one are
expected, and both said they can be delivered regularly.

"It's probably the best game that we've had together," Johnson
said. "It's still early in the season, but yeah, I'm sure that's
the vision everybody had, that's the vision I had and I'm sure
this won't be the last (big) game. Like I say man, we're just
figuring things out."

Brook Lopez added 23 points for the Nets, who opened a 20-point
lead at home for the third straight game, but this time barely
let up and beat the Cavaliers for the sixth time in eight
meetings after losing nine in a row, mostly during the LeBron
James era.

Anderson Varejao scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 18
rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were wrapping up a six-game,
coast-to-coast trip and played much of the game with the urgency
of a team that wanted to be home.

They haven't played there since Nov. 2, their second game of the
season, and dropped the final four games of the trip to finish

Williams and Johnson, perennial All-Stars who have been
nicknamed "Brooklyn's Backcourt," put things together for the
first time since the Nets acquired Johnson from Atlanta over the
summer. Neither had a 20-point game before Tuesday, and Johnson
had been shooting only 36.2 percent.

Williams shot 10 of 20, and Johnson was 9 of 16 while adding six
assists and five rebounds.

"It definitely felt like we played better together today and
like I said, we both got going today which was good, so
hopefully we can continue to make improvements," Williams said.
"Me and him have been talking a lot the last couple of days
trying to get each other going and find out where, you know, our
spots are on the court."

The Nets held Orlando below 20 points in a franchise-record
seven straight quarters during a home-and-home sweep and were
allowing 90.4 points per game, fourth-best in the NBA. But the
offense had been spotty, particularly once they got ahead. They
blew a 22-point lead last week in a loss to Minnesota and most
of a 20-point advantage Sunday against the Magic.

This time, there was no letup, in part because they just ran by
a Cleveland team that didn't have its legs. Brooklyn finished
with a 23-8 advantage in fast-break points.

Kyrie Irving had 34 points and eight assists for Cleveland,
which started its trip Nov. 3 in Milwaukee, went out to
California for two stops, then hit Phoenix and Oklahoma City
before wrapping up here. Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told his
players Tuesday morning not to let their minds drift to thoughts
about being back home, but their defense never showed up in

"I don't want to talk about the defense. There was nothing there
defensively," Scott said. "We've got to get more guys that are
going to be competitive and passionate about the defensive end."

Cleveland led after one only because Varejao shot 7 of 8 for 17
points, his highest total in an NBA quarter, helping the Cavs to
a 30-29 edge. But the Nets had already started blowing it open
by the time he returned a little more than four minutes into the

He quickly scored upon re-entering, but the Nets responded with
an 8-2 run to open a 48-34 lead. It was 64-42 by halftime.
Brooklyn shot 62 percent in the second while holding Cleveland
to 5 of 20 (25 percent) and outscoring the Cavs 35-12.

"They hit us in the mouth on both ends of the floor. We weren't
executing. We got in a hole and it's hard to fight back against
a good team such as Brooklyn," Irving said.

Rookie Dion Waiters missed his first eight shots, then threw up
his arms as if to say "finally" when his 3-pointer popped out of
the basket and then back in for his first field goal nearly
midway through the third. Then it was Varejao's turn to look
annoyed, tossing the ball off the backboard stanchion after
Lopez beat the Cavs down the floor for a layup that made it
77-53 with 5:16 remaining in the third.

The Cavs finally made a dent late in the third, with Irving
scoring 14 points in the period to trim it to 85-75. But he and
Varejao started the fourth on the bench as Brooklyn quickly
regained control. The Nets reopened a big cushion when Johnson
hit two 3-pointers and three free throws in a nine-point flurry
over 85 seconds midway through the period.

NOTES: Scott led the Nets to their greatest NBA success, trips
to the NBA Finals in 2002 and `03 while compiling a 149-139
record from 2000-04. He remembered the move to Brooklyn being
discussed when he was there, though delays and lawsuits held up
plans to relocate sooner. ... Varejao's previous best quarter
was 14 points in the second period against Orlando on Feb. 11,
2010, according to STATS LLC. ... Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, a
frequent spectator at Knicks games, sat courtside.

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