Deron Williams Leaves Early With Injury, But Nets Hang Tough, Top Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — With Deron Williams sidelined with a sore right calf, Anthony Morrow knew the New Jersey Nets would need a scoring lift down the stretch.
And he was more than happy to provide it with his parents looking on from the stands.
Morrow, who grew up in Charlotte, scored all 17 of his points in the fourth quarter to help the New Jersey Nets break open a tight game and defeat the Charlotte Bobcats 83-74 Friday night.
“When Deron went out we kind of struggled offensively,” said Morrow, who came in averaging 12.8 points per game. “When you don’t have a 22-point-a-night guy out of the game you’re going to struggle, so I knew I had to step my game up.”
Nets coach Avery Johnson said Williams will not play Saturday night against the Houston Rockets.
Williams, who scored a career-high and franchise-record 57 points on this same floor Sunday night against the Bobcats, left in the second quarter and did not return. He finished with seven points and three assists.
“We’ll give an update on him Saturday once we check him out,” Johnson said.
Kris Humphries had 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Nets in both categories, but it was Morrow who ignited the Nets to their second straight win.
The Nets led by one entering the fourth quarter, but quickly built a 70-62 lead behind four consecutive jumpers by Morrow, who turned hot, hitting 6 of 9 from the field after missing all five shots in the first three quarters.
After the Bobcats closed to within five points in the fourth quarter, Morrow hit a 3-pointer from the right wing over Gerald Henderson to put the game away in the final minutes.
“Anthony was huge tonight,” Johnson said. “He got on his favorite side of the floor — the right side — and he mixed up his game. He posted up, put the ball on the floor and made some threes. When he’s mixing up his game like that he’s much harder to guard.”
With Williams out of the game, the Nets turned to Jordan Farmar to run the offense and he responded well with 11 points and seven assists.
Sheldon Williams added six points and 13 rebounds for the Nets.
After enduring an eight-game losing streak, the Nets have rebounded to win six of their past 11 games including victories against Chicago, New York, Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte twice.
“We have been fighting through all kinds of adversity with injuries and things, but the main thing is we’re sticking together,” Morrow said. “We have great team chemistry on and off the court.”
Corey Maggette led the Bobcats with 19 points and Bismack Biyombo had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Neither team shot particularly well — the Nets 36 percent and the Bobcats 34 percent — in one of the lowest-scoring games of the season for both teams.
“It was one of those grind it out games,” Morrow said.
Charlotte’s Paul Silas had his son, assistant coach Stephen, coach the team Friday night.
Silas said he informed his son of the decision around 5 p.m., two hours before tipoff after clearing it with management.
“It’s just sort of like I was watching Don Nelson and when he let Keith Smart coach when he was coaching,” Paul Silas said. “I just wanted to give Steven a shot at coaching a team that I felt we could compete with. I thought he did as good of a job as I had done. We just didn’t get it done for some odd reason.”
The younger Silas had taken over earlier this week when his father was ejected and the Bobcats responded with a 22-1 run and went on to beat the Orlando Magic.
“It was fun, challenging of course,” Stephen Silas said. “But when you prepare as much as I do and work as hard as I do, it was gratifying to get a shot at it.”
Stephen Silas said he aspires to be an NBA head coach.
Paul Silas sat next to his son during the game.
When asked about how much input his father had, Stephen Silas said, “He was good. He didn’t really say too much to me and let me do my thing but he was on the referees for me, so he had my back.”
NOTES: Boris Diaw and Gana Diop were inactive for the Bobcats, meaning $15.9 million in salary cap room that did not see action. … D.J. White was a late scratch for the Bobcats, replaced by Tyrus Thomas, who did not play in the previous game. Thomas had a technical foul in the first quarter and finished with six points. … It was the 17th double-double for Humphries this season.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)