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Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Nets 110, Thunder 93

By Mike Mazzeo

WHAT IT MEANS: The Brooklyn Nets kicked off the New Year with a bang.

They earned their biggest victory of the season, overcoming adversity and beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-93, on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Nets (17-15) blew a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter. But after the Thunder tied the game at 85, they scored eight consecutive points to regain command and eventually turn a close one back into a laugher.

The Nets went 5-11 in December, but snapped a seven-game losing to the Thunder (24-7) and picked up their first victory over a .500 or better team since they beat the Boston Celtics on Nov. 28. Oklahoma City had won its previous 12 games at home.

Question is: Can this victory galvanize them moving forward?

BIG THREE: Shocking, but true. Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez all played extremely well in the same game. Johnson led the charge with a season-high 33 points (his ninth game of 20 or more), while D-Will chipped in 19 points, 13 assists and a season-high five steals (his first double-double since Dec. 19) and Lopez added 25 points and five rebounds. The trio combined for 23 points in the fourth quarter. The Nets outscored the Thunder, 34-21, in the final period.

INCREDIBLE: The Nets held the NBA’s highest scoring team to just 93 points. Kevin Durant had 27 points and five turnovers before getting ejected late. Brooklyn shot 50 percent overall and went 9-for-17 from 3-point range. The Nets went 25-for-29 from the free throw line. Oklahoma City turned it over 19 times.

FIRST HALF TO REMEMBER: The Nets led 55-32 with 3:40 left in the second quarter. They took a 61-45 lead into the locker room on the strength of 58.1 percent shooting, 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Johnson had 20 points, while D-Will added 10 points and nine assists. Remember, he averages 7.5 dimes on the season.

THIRD IS THE BAD WORD: The Nets, who scored a franchise-low five points in the third quarter in San Antonio, were outscored 27-15 in the period on Wednesday night. They shot 6-for-18 and committed six turnovers.

FLYING START: The Nets outscored the Thunder 33-19 in the first quarter. They hit 63.6 percent of their shots and didn’t turn the ball over once. Their Big Three of Johnson, Lopez and Williams combined for 27 points.

LINEUP CHANGE: Reggie Evans started at power forward, while Gerald Wallace, back after a one-game absence due to a bruised left knee, moved back to small forward.

INJURY: Kris Humphries limped to the locker room with 1:36 remaining.

FLOPS? FLOPS? FLOPS? It’s possible that both Evans and Wallace could receive their third flopping violations.

UP NEXT: Nets at Wizards on Friday night