NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Nets needed a win, and woeful Charlotte Bobcats showed up at the right time.
Deron Williams had 19 points and matched his season high with 14 assists and the Nets snapped a five-game losing streak with a 102-89 victory Saturday night.
In a season where New Jersey (16-34) has struggled for wins, the Bobcats (7-39) have been the one team they can count on for Ws. Four games. Four Ws.
“It was a good win, a long time coming,” said Williams, who had an NBA season-high 57 points in a win over Charlotte earlier this season. “We’ve needed it for a while, so I’m definitely happy about it.”
The Nets’ latest losing skid included losses to Washington, Cleveland and New Orleans at home and another setback could have been disastrous.
New Jersey made sure it never happened. It never allowed Charlotte to take to lead and had all five starters score in double figures.
Kris Humphries added 20 points and 16 rebounds and former Bobcat Gerald Wallace had 15 points as the Nets posted one of their easier wins over the season. Sheldon Williams added 10 points and 11 rebounds for New Jersey and rookie MarShon Brooks had 11.
“A win is a win to me,” Wallace said. “I don’t care who scores or who does what. We were already on a losing streak, so it was a must win for us. Scoring and all that has never been a big issue for me as long as we get a convincing win as we were supposed to do.”
Backup center Byron Mullens had 17 points to lead the Bobcats, who were coached by assistant coach Stephen Silas. Head coach Paul Silas has handed the team over to his son for three full games this season to give him experience.
Stephen Silas said the Bobcats never got their uptempo offense going until it was too late.
“We have to play faster,” he said. “We can’t be a slow-down team.”
The Nets led by as many as 26 points and coach Avery Johnson didn’t take any chances in this one either. He played his starters until the final 2 minutes just to make sure New Jersey didn’t blew its sixth win at home in 24 games.
“We just needed a win,” said Johnson, who spoke with general manager Billy King in his office before the game. “… It was one of those games, by any means necessary.”
Corey Maggette added 13 points for Charlotte, which is 3-22 on the road this season. Gerald Henderson was limited to seven points on 3-of-11 shooting, just one night after scoring a season-high 29 against Milwaukee.
“The shots I took just didn’t go in and I made some bad decisions on defense,” Henderson said. “There’s a lot more I could have done to help us win.”
Maggette and Deron Williams were involved in a collision in the third quarter, where the Bobcats’ forward seemed to elbow Williams in the face. Williams confronted him at the other end of the court after the play and drew his fourth technical foul this week.
Maggette said he wasn’t sure what happened on the play.
“”I would never try to intentionally hurt anybody on the court,” Maggette said. “It’s just not my M.O. I really don’t know what he was talking about, but as a man, I apologize.”
Williams refused to comment on the incident until he watched videotapes of it.
New Jersey led by five points after the first quarter, six at the half and they blew the game open by closing the third quarter with a 16-2 spurt to take an 81-58 lead.
Wallace had seven points in the run, hitting a three-point play and a 3-point field goal. Deron Williams banked in a shot and hit a 3-pointer in the run and he also had assists on Wallace’s 3-point shot and a spectacular alley-oop dunk by former NBA dunk champion Gerald Green.
NOTES: This was the Nets’ first four-game sweep of an opponent since doing it against Philadelphia in 2008-09. …The last time the Nets’ swept the Bobcats was 2004-05, the Bobcats inaugural season. ….There were only two free throws in the first quarter. … Brooks was hit in the head by Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo late in the first half going for a loose-ball rebound and appeared to be shaken up. Brooks left the game but returned for the second half. … Bobcats C DeSagana Diop (strained right hamstring) and reserve F Eduardo Najera (inflamed right knee) each missed their second straight game. … Stephen Silas is 2-3 in games he has either coached fully or taken over after his father was ejected.
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