NEWARK N.J. (AP) — Deron Williams came close to a triple double on Sunday night.
He had 19 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 97-87 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Williams’ near triple double would have been the first of the season for the Nets, who improved to 5-12 on the season.
“It was close. I’ve been close a number of times,” Williams said. “It will happen someday.”
MarShon Brooks added 20 points for the Nets, while Anthony Morrow added 19 points.
“I’ve been shooting a lot of 3s. I’ve been hitting a lot of them so I find myself settling for that shot. I need to be a little bit more efficient,” Brooks said. “Early we made shots. We put up some good numbers today so that was good.”
Rookie Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Gerald Henderson had 15 points while Bismack Biyombo and Derrick Brown had 11 each.
“I hope Kemba can continue to play well,” Charlotte coach Paul Silas said. “We saw tonight he really pushed it and was into the game. If we had some of our injured guys here with him tonight, I think we would have a legitimate shot of winning the game.”
The Nets got off to a strong start. Morrow’s 3 early in the second quarter increased the Nets’ lead to 38-25.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, he made a 3 to push the advantage to 14 at 56-42.
New Jersey led 58-42 at halftime.
“We played pretty good offense overall. The goal was to try and get to 100 points,” New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said. “We figured that (the) first team to 100 would really have a chance to win.
“We made more shots tonight.”
Without the injured Brook Lopez, New Jersey has relied on its perimeter shooting.
The Nets shot 38 of 86 from the field, including 7 of 27 from three.
“Normally they have a post-up they can go to,” Silas said, referring to Lopez. He added, “Their 3-point shooting is really good.”
Charlotte shot 46.8 percent from the field and 35.7 percent on 3-pointers.
Johnson expressed concern before the game about the Bobcats’ youthful depth and that Charlotte started two point guards in Walker and D.J. Augustin.
“They are a really young energetic team (that) starts two point guards who can pass, shoot and are fast,” Johnson said. “They bring a lot of young guys off the bench (and have) a lot of young guys who are athletic and quick.”
Augustin played the first quarter before leaving the game because of an inflamed big right toe.
“One time when I had the ball, I tried to make a move and I lost the ball. I just couldn’t get to the ball because my foot was hurting and I couldn’t get back to it. That’s when they took me out and I just went straight to the back,” said Augustin, who grabbed a rebound and had two assists.
“Hopefully this shot situation is what I get. Hopefully it can help me and I can get back soon,” he added.
Walker struggled some against the more experienced guards of the Nets. Late in the second quarter, Williams knocked the ball free to start a fast break that ended with a two-handed dunk by Kris Humphries.
“I’m going to have ups and downs. I’m trying to be consistent. But it’s tough on my body,” Walker said of his rookie season. When asked for his assessment of Deron Williams, Walker said, “He’s a good player. He’s a great player.”
Notes: The Bobcats’ youth coupled with the abbreviated season has Bobcats coach Paul Silas concerned about how his team will respond to the challenge. “It’s tough because you don’t have the practice time,” Silas said. “Playing as many games as we do, you’re not used to it.” … Bobcats forward DJ White missed the game with a left knee contusion.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.