- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: The Brooklyn Nets are no longer 0-for-December.
They snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with an ugly 94-88 win over the short-handed Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre.
After an abysmal first half, the Nets (12-9) caught fire from beyond the arc in the second -- going 9-for-11 from 3-point range -- led by as many 15 and held on late.
The Raptors (4-19) were without Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields, Linas Kleiza and Alan Anderson -- all due to injury. Amir Johnson was serving a one-game suspension for throwing his mouth piece at an official Monday.
BROOKLYN’S BACKCOURT: Joe Johnson had 19 of his team-high 23 points in the second half, while Deron Williams’ struggles continued. D-Will missed five of his first six shots, went 3-for-11 in the first half and ended up with just 12 points and four assists on 5-for-16 shooting. His first good game of the season will have to wait.
QUIET STORM: C.J. Watson, who has been in what seems like a season-long funk, erupted for a season-high 16 points in 24 minutes off the bench. The backup point guard went a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
COMBO FOUR: Reggie Evans (starter) and Kris Humphries (reserve) combined for 20 points and 13 rebounds. Andray Blatche chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Blatche had an emphatic reverse dunk late in the game.
WHAT THE? One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen in an NBA game happened with 7:42 left in the fourth quarter, when official Courtney Kirkland came out of nowhere to try and block Humphries from taking a free throw because subs were checking into the game. There was a lot of confusion, followed by some laughter.
LOPEZ UPDATE: According to YES Network, Brook Lopez worked out on Wednesday and will do so again on Thursday before the Nets determine whether he can return to the lineup. Lopez missed his seventh straight game due to a mild right foot sprain. The Nets are 2-5 without him. Veteran Jerry Stackhouse joined Lopez on the inactive list, since Nets coach Avery Johnson doesn’t like playing him in back-to-back games.
TURNING IT AROUND: The Nets went 6-for-8 from 3-point range in a third quarter in which they outscored the Raptors 31-19 and erased an 11-point deficit. Johnson had nine points during the period and keyed an 18-5 run which allowed the Nets to re-take the lead.
U-G-L-Y: The Nets shot just 36.1 percent in the first half, went 1-for-8 from 3-point range and had 10 turnovers. They trailed 45-37 heading into the locker room. In the first quarter, Toronto’s starting frontcourt of Ed Davis and Jonas Valanciunas combined to go 9-for-10 and score 20 points.
UP NEXT: Nets vs. Pistons on Friday at 7:30 p.m.