Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/3/13
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Brooklyn was looking for a boost. After the turmoil it had inflicted upon itself in the early part of the season, it was looking for a spark. They might have found it Wednesday when the Nets ended Oklahoma City's 12-game home win streak with a 110-93 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The win was the second for the Nets since P.J. Carlesimo was named interim head coach. But the performance might have been their best of the season as they never trailed the entire night. "We played hard," Carlesimo said. "Could it have slipped away? Sure it could have. That's why they are 16-2 in this building. But we found a way to win, which is a great thing. It's one game, but what I said to them is we set the bar pretty high. We showed ourselves what we are capable of doing." After falling behind by 23 points in the first half, the Thunder stormed back in the second half to make a game of it. In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City tied the contest at 85-85 on consecutive 3-pointers from Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin with seven minutes left in the game. However, Joe Johnson answered with a jumper over Durant and Keith Bogans was fouled and knocked down two free throws to start an 8-0 run for the Nets. Oklahoma City was unable to get any closer as Brooklyn continued to have its way. With 1:57 left in the game Durant was ejected and Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks emptied his bench. Johnson led all scorers with 33 points on 11-for-19 shooting and took the Thunder's defense tactic as a personal challenge. "When you get a couple of easy buckets, the basket just gets a little bigger," Johnson said. "I notice they were playing me one-on-one straight up. There wasn't any double-team. So I just tried to take advantage." Deron Williams scored 19 points and dished out 13 assists for the Nets (17-15). Brook Lopez added 25 points. Durant led Oklahoma City (24-7) with 27 points on 11-for-17 shooting. Russell Westbrook chipped in with 26 points and 10 assists in the loss. For one of the few times this season, the Thunder shot fewer free-throw attempts than its opponent. While the Nets were 25-for-29 from the line, Oklahoma City attempted only 17 free throws, which led to Durant's early exit. "I told (referee Danny Crawford) it was a bad call," an upset Durant said. "I think I'm allowed to be frustrated, especially in this league with the ups and downs. Players are allowed to be frustrated." Johnson and Lopez had their way early with the Thunder's defense. Lopez took advantage of Kendrick Perkins in the low post while Johnson had his midrange jumper going. Brooklyn held a 33-19 advantage heading into the second quarter. The Nets pushed their lead to 23 midway through the second as Oklahoma City continued to struggle defensively. It was the most points the Thunder have trailed by the entire season. Serge Ibaka attempted to keep the Thunder close as he attacked the boards and found room in the paint to work. Ibaka's 3-pointer trimmed the lead to 14 in the second period, but the Nets held the momentum and took a 61-45 advantage into halftime. Oklahoma City slowly crept back into the game in the third quarter behind Westbrook's offensive wizardry and overall team defense. The shots the Nets had been making in the first half were taken away by a swarming Oklahoma City defense. "I knew we were going to battle back," Brooks said. "We've always done that. That's our DNA -- we're going to always fight back to the last possession." The Thunder held the Nets to 15 points in the third quarter and trailed by only four heading into the fourth quarter. "Even in the first when our shots were falling and theirs weren't, we said there are going to be runs," Carlesimo said. "There are going to be a bunch of runs and can we answer them." NOTES: Carlesimo made his return to Oklahoma City for the first time as a head coach since he was fired during the 2008-09 season. He coached the first 13 games of the Thunder's history and compiled a 1-12 record. He was replaced on an interim basis by Brooks, who was an assistant coach. Four years later Brooks has a long term contract with the Thunder and Carlesimo is the interim coach with the Nets after replacing Avery Johnson, who was fired Dec. 27. "I was around P.J. for a year and half," Brooks said. "He's an excellent coach. He understands the situation at hand and I'm sure he's going to do well. You want him to have success because he's a good guy." ... After sitting out Monday's 104-73 loss to San Antonio with a bruised left knee, Brooklyn's Gerald Wallace was back in the starting lineup in Oklahoma City. The 30-year-old forward is averaging 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3 assists and almost two steals. ... In Carlesimo's final season with the Thunder, he drafted Westbrook. He remembered how much discussion the organization had surrounding the draft pick. "I think they felt from the beginning (Westbrook) was too special not to take," Carlesimo said. "We didn't feel we needed a point guard. There were guys at other positions that we felt we needed at the time. But they just said this guy has a chance to be too special for us to let him go. So he has turned out the way they thought he was going to turn out."
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