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Nets able to pull away from the Suns, 102-100, after nearly letting the game get away from them

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After having lost a tough one in Los Angeles the night before, the Nets went into Phoenix and were absolutely like, "what trap game?" With Joe Johnson (thigh, heel) out tonight, the Nets found themselves a somewhat "unlikely" hero in Kris Humphries, as he went for a season-high 17 points, helping the Nets to a 102-100 victory over the Suns.

They are now 3-1 to start off their 8-game "circus road trip." This game didn't need to be this close, and there is certainly enough to complain about, but a win is a win, and the Nets worked a bit too hard for this one.

Next up, the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. The rest will certainly do them some good.

Game Flow

Early on, naturally, the Nets went heavy on getting Deron Williams and Brook Lopez involved in the offense. Luis Scola was just unable to stop Lopez, whether it be stepping out for a mid-range jumpers, posting up or even starting at the top of the key and driving past him. Scola was so bad early that they went to Hamed Haddadi after the first 3-plus minutes.

The Haddadi substitution, believe it or not, was a pretty big one. He came in and only only limited looks in the paint for the Nets, but he worked the glass hard and was able to initiate a few fastbreak opportunities, which lead to a quick 8-0 run, giving the Suns a 12-10 lead midway through the first.

P.J. Carlesimo countered by giving Kris Humphries a look early, to which Hump responded by shooting an airball.

He also went to Andray Blatche and MarShon Brooks in hopes that it would spark the offense. The Nets did go on a slight run themselves, which gave us not one, but two alley-oops, including a D-Will to Humphries exciting finish. Humphries finished the quarter with nine points off the bench, as the Nets and Suns were tied at 25-25 after one.

The Nets bench continued its strong offensive output to start the second quarter, behind Blatche, Hump and Brooks. With the three air balls aside (one was a pass to Blatche, right??), Hump finished the half leading the Nets with 12 points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes. Welcome back to the rotation, Hump.

Lopez went for 12 points and three rebounds, while D-Will finished with four points and nine assists, as the Nets out-scored the Suns 30-18 in the second and carried a 55-43 lead into halftime.

In the third, the Nets tried to put the Suns away early. Other than Goran Dragic, the Suns couldn't do anything offensively for about the first 4-plus minutes, as the Nets went up by 16. Unfortunately for the Nets, they fell cold, shooting 4-of-16 from the floor, as Wesley Johnson found his three-point stroke and brought the Suns all the way back, down by one with about a minute remaining in the quarter -- he hit three consecutive threes.

There was a lapse midway through the third quarter where the Nets starters got a bit lazy, letting the Suns back into the game by not boxing out off the offensive glass and making sloppy passes on the other end of the floor. There was also the rotation, which was once again a bit questionable, as Humphries, Brooks and Blatche who were playing so well, were glued to the bench for most of the third while the offense began to look sluggish and almost nonexistent.

After three quarters, the Nets went from up 16 to down by one, 76-75. Wes Johnson had all 18 of his points (after three) in the third quarter.

It was a continued struggle for the Nets in the fourth quarter, especially the starters. Luckily, C.J. Watson wasn't tired, nor had he mentally checked out. He came off the bench in the fourth and provided some nice, fast-paced offense, giving the Nets a 2-point lead midway through the quarter.

From there, D-Will and the team's defense took over, doing just enough to squeeze out a win over a team that had no business hanging in this late with them. Were the Nets tired? Sure. Were they overlooking the Suns? Probably. Were the rotations once again out of whack? Yeah, sure. But there really is no excuse as to how you let a 16-point lead fall and require a Humphries season-best 17 points to beat the Suns, the worst team in the Western Conference.

It was also completely unacceptable for the Nets to give up 25 offensive rebounds. That should not happen.

For more on the Suns, see: Bright Side of the Suns