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Monday, December 26, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Nets 90, Wizards 84

By Mike Mazzeo



Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets tipped off the 2011-12 campaign the right way, rallying back from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to score a 90-84 season-opening victory over the Wizards on Monday night in Washington, D.C.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the second-largest comeback win for the Nets in the last 15 seasons.

D-WILL'S WAY: Deron Williams looked like his usual self, stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of a game-high 23 points, eight assists and eight rebounds on 8-for-21 shooting -- including 4-for-11 from 3-point range. The 27-year-old superstar asserted himself on the offensive end, both by knocking down shots from all over the floor and finding his teammates for open looks.

Williams was seen grabbing his right hand with 4:13 remaining after John Wall drove into him. He didn’t seem to be hampered at all, though. With Williams on the bench, the Wizards took a 74-66 lead early in the fourth quarter, but once he came back in the game the Nets took over, playing tenacious defense while outscoring Washington 24-10 over the final 10:51.

BOO THAT MAN: Apparently, Kris Humphries isn't just hated in New York. Wizards fans also booed Humphries every time he touched the ball. Boobirds aside, the 26-year-old power forward picked up right where he left off last season, notching his first double-double of 2011-12: 21 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. He finished 9-for-14 from the field, and came up with a huge deflection which led to a win-clinching steal in the closing seconds. Humphries' 16 rebounds are the most by a Net in a season opener since Jamie Feick had 17 in 1999.

TURNING POINT: The Nets trailed 38-17 with 7:21 left in the second quarter, but they closed the opening half on a 20-7 run to go into the locker room down eight. Third-string point guard Sundiata Gaines ignited the comeback with four points.

UGLY START: The Nets turned the ball over on their first three offensive possessions, missed 12 of their first 13 shots and quickly trailed 26-13 after the first quarter. It wasn't until they began driving the ball to the rim instead of settling for 3-pointers that they began to climb back into the game.

DEBUTANTES: Rookie first-round pick MarShon Brooks scored six points on 3-for-7 shooting in his NBA debut. Recent acquisition Mehmet Okur went scoreless in 18 minutes. Ex-Knick Shawne Williams also didn't score in 15 minutes. Another ex-Knick, Shelden Williams, played nine minutes. The Nets were outscored by 19 in that span, according to ESPN Stats.

UNSUNG HERO: Johan Petro, who was forced into emergency starter duty at center, scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds.

STAT SO? The Nets didn't take their first lead of the evening until the 5:32 mark of the third quarter when D-Will drained a 3 to put New Jersey up 58-57. ... They shot just 6-for-27 from 3-point range, but outrebounded Washington 58-39. ... The Nets improved to 18-18 all-time in season openers.

NETS NOTES: Petro, Humphries, Damion James, Anthony Morrow and D-Will made up the starting five. ... Rookie second-round pick Jordan Williams (dehydration) was the only Net who was unavailable.

UP NEXT: The last home opener in New Jersey: Nets vs. Hawks, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.