"A lot of teams with bad character and bad leadership in the
locker room would have laid down a long time ago, probably by
Christmas would have been making summer plans," Nets forward Paul
Pierce said. "But not this group. You have a mentally strong group
full of veterans who were always staying positive and patient with
The Nets, who tied a franchise record set in 2002 with their 13th
consecutive home win, can book their postseason ticket with a Knicks
loss at Golden State Sunday night.
"The first part of the season was rough on us — injuries and
everything that we went through," Nets guard Deron Williams said.
"It feels good to be able to turn it around."
Pierce set the tone for the Nets, scoring 16 of his game-high 22
points in the first quarter two nights after scoring 17 in the
opening stanza against Cleveland.
Forward Joe Johnson added 19 points and became the 15th active NBA
player to reach 17,000 career points, joining teammates Kevin
Garnett and Pierce. Johnson also scored in double figures for the
ninth consecutive game.
Forward Andray Blatche had 14 points and six rebounds, forward Alan
Anderson had 13 points, and forward Mason Plumlee and guard Shaun
Livingston added 13 points apiece for the Nets, who scored 100-plus
points for the eighth consecutive game, their longest streak since
Anderson did most of his damage down the stretch with three big
"He's a good player," Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio said of Anderson.
"I played with him in Barcelona and I knew him. I tried to give a
hint to my teammates, but he can hit big shots. He killed us in the
Six different players combined to knock down 13 3-pointers for
"I think we're the most dangerous team in the NBA from 3-point,"
forward Mirza Teletovic said. "We have so many shooters and it kind
of opens the paint."
The Nets (39-33) clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter,
limiting a Timberwolves team that dropped 143 points on the Lakers
Friday night to just 17 points in the final quarter Sunday. It was
the 12th straight time during the 13-game home winning streak the
Nets held an opponent under 100 points.
Guard Kevin Martin and forward Corey Brewer had 21 points apiece and
center Nikola Pekovic had 13 points for the Timberwolves, who lost
for the fourth time in six games.
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Minnesota standout Kevin Love was held to 14 points, 12 below his
season average, on just 5-of-14 shooting from the field. But the
versatile forward said it had more to do with him feeling under the
weather than anything the Nets did defensively.
"They did a good job, but it was really just me being exhausted,"
Love said. "I couldn't find any energy in the second half. That was
The Timberwolves (36-36) scored 10 points off seven Nets turnovers
in the third quarter and took a 69-63 lead on a Brewer putback dunk
with 8:07 left in the third.
But the Nets did a better job with the ball offensively and were
solid defensively to inch closer to a playoff berth.
"We control our own destiny, so no matter what the Knicks do, we
could care less," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "It's just about us
and for us to finish out the rest of the games and see where we end
up after 82 games, if it's home court or if we have to start on the
NOTES: Nets F Andrei Kirilenko (sprained left ankle) is targeting a
midweek return, while F Kevin Garnett (back spasms) could be back
anytime between Friday's game against the Detroit Pistons and April
9 against the Magic in Orlando, the team announced Sunday. ... Nets
G Deron Williams stretched his streak of consecutive games with at
least one steal to 22, the longest streak in the NBA this season.
... Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said C Nikola Pekovic "seems
fine" after scoring 26 points in 22 minutes in a 143-107 win over
the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday after missing six games with a sore
right ankle. "The other night I thought it wasn't until the third
quarter that it looked like he was getting a little fatigued,"
Adelman said before Sunday's game. "The first half I thought he was
fine." ... Adelman said there is no timetable for the return of C
Ronny Turiaf, who missed his 17th game due to a bone bruise on right
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