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Nets top the Timberwolves, 91-83, despite their struggles to take care of the basketball

The Nets traveled to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves.


After a tough battle against the Knicks on Monday, the Nets kicked off night one of their "true" road swing (Monday was in Manhattan, so...) against the Timberwolves.

The Wolves were without Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Alexei Shved and Nikola Pekovic, among others, which certainly gave the Nets the upper-hand. From the start, the Nets were able to take advantage of the short-handed Wolves, and picked them apart off the glass (45-37) -- as well as force 13 turnovers on defense -- to carry a lead throughout, winning 91-83 despite the Wolves making it interesting late in the game.

Brooklyn now 12-2 under P.J. Carlesimo, and 10-1 in January. They are only a half-game behind the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Brook Lopez finished with 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting and seven rebounds in 26 minutes, while Deron Williams had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Joe Johnson finished with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

The big knock on the Nets was in turning over the ball. The coughed it up 14 times.

The game started with Gerald Wallace blocking Luke Ridnour off the glass, followed by a Brook Lopez 13-foot jumper on the other end. Tone. Set. The Nets got out to a 9-0 start, thanks to four straight turnovers by the Wolves. They started the game shooting 7-of-10 before cooling off slightly. At the end of the first, the Nets carried a 24-17 lead, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor and forcing six turnovers.

In the second quarter, the Nets couldn't buy a bucket in the first 3-4 minutes, allowing the Timberwolves to get back into the game. Finally, though, they were able to get into an offensive rhythm, thanks to Andray Blatche (who scored all nine of his points in the quarter), Williams, Lopez and a few forced turnovers. The Nets scored 29 points in the quarter.

Outside of Chris Johnson and some nice moments from Andrei Kirilenko, the Timberwolves put up little fight on the offensive side of the ball. They trailed the Nets 53-42 at half.

One correction the Nets needed to make at the half was limiting their turnovers. In the first 24 minutes of play they coughed the ball up seven times to just eight assists. Unfortunately, they didn't adjust.

The third kicked off with the Wolves going on a 10-4 run, pulling to within five, midway through the quarter. Again, it was a struggle with turning the ball over that helped Minnesota climb back into this one.

Joe Johnson found his hot hand in the third, scoring five straight for the Nets after Lopez was pulled for rest. But it wasn't a pretty quarter, and with Lopez out of the lineup, the Wolves kept giving the Nets fits on the defensive side of the ball. Brooklyn shot just 6-of-20 from the floor.

After three quarters, the Nets had a slim lead, 68-62.

In the fourth quarter, it was more of the same, with the Nets failing to take care of the ball. Really, if it weren't for the fact that the Nets had an obvious advantage off the glass, this game might have gotten out of hand in favor of the Timberwolves.

Luckily, C.J. Watson took off. He scored nine straight points for the Nets, helping to build a double-digit lead for Brooklyn. The Timberwolves fought back, as Watson couldn't carry the team on his own.

Enter, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, who came back in the game midway through the fourth, and with Johnson stepping out on offense and Lopez playing some strong defense in the middle, the Nets built a little breathing room.

The final score was a bit closer than it should have been, 91-83, but that's because the Nets struggled with turnovers and they poorly executed on the offensive side of the ball. Really, the turnover issue is something they need to address because, as noted, this game probably shouldn't have been as close as the final score indicates.

And in a return to Avery Johnson's rotation patterns, MarShon Brooks played only five minutes and Mirza Teletovic was a DNP-CD.

For more on the Timberwolves, see: Canis Hoopus