Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/23/13
MINNEAPOLIS -- Wednesday at Target Center featured a game between two teams headed in very different directions. The Brooklyn Nets continued to ride the P.J. Carlesimo train. The Timberwolves continued to flounder in the face of injuries. New Jersey got 22 points from center Brook Lopez and 18 each from guards Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in a wire-to-wire 91-83 victory that pushed the Nets to their 12th win in 14 games since Carlesimo took over as coach for the fired Avery Johnson. It gave the Nets (26-16) their fourth 10-win January since joining the NBA, and it gave Carlesimo the second-best start by a Nets coach ever. The Wolves, playing again without a bevy of players and with coach Rick Adelman missing his ninth game while tending to his ill wife, lost their second straight game and their seventh in eight games. The Nets opened the game with a 14-2 run and never trailed. The Wolves were never totally out of it, rallying a number of times but never able to get all the way back. Down six entering the fourth quarter, the Wolves pulled within 70-68 on Dante Cunningham's jumper early in the period. But Nets reserve C.J. Watson scored nine straight points as Brooklyn pushed the lead back to nine. J.J. Barea's layup cut the Nets' lead to three, but Johnson answered with a 3-pointer with 5:17 left to stem the tide for the final time. Andrei Kirilenko led the Wolves with 15 points. Cunningham had 14 and Luke Ridnour had 13. But the Wolves continue to feel the loss of big men Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, with Lopez having a big game and the Nets outrebounding Minnesota 45-37. The Wolves looked absolutely lost at both ends of the court to start the game. The Nets, getting almost every shot they wanted, made three-quarters of them while building an early 14-2 lead. Slowly, though, the Wolves found their legs, pulling within seven at the end of the first quarter. A quick start to the second quarter led by bench players Chris Johnson and Barea pulled the Wolves within two points three times in the second quarter before a Williams-led run pushed the Nets' lead to 45-35 on Williams' three. The Wolves cut that to seven before Williams scored two straight baskets and helped push Brooklyn to a 53-42 halftime lead. NOTES: Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic (quad contusion) and guard Alexey Shved (ankle) missed their third straight games. ... A week into his return to the starting lineup, and 10 months removed from surgery to repair two ligaments in his left leg, Wolves guard Ricky Rubio admitted he still feels pain in the leg at times and is struggling with both strength and confidence. That, in turn, has affected his shot and his willingness to drive to the basket. "I'm moving pretty good side to side," he said. "But then, when I have to power, when I have to jump, I don't feel like I jump." ... Barea said the team will help him appeal the $5,000 fine he was assessed for flopping. ... Nets center Brook Lopez told reporters Monday he is not bothered by speculation that the Nets could pursue a trade for the Lakers' Dwight Howard. "It is what it is," he said. "I don't read any of the media stuff that anyone puts out."
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