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No Joe? No problem. Nets defeat Suns 116-106

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets may have lost Joe Jesus, but they still keep the faith.

In the wake of Joe Johnson's buyout after three and a half seasons with the organization, the Nets rallied behind the 11 active guys still on the roster and defeated the free falling Suns, 116-106, Thursday night in Phoenix. The Nets grabbed a rare win on the road; their fifth to be exact, and improved to 16-42 on the season. It was Tony Brown and Sean Marks' first road win as coach and GM.

Bojan Bogdanovic started in Joe Johnson's place and it certainly paid off, despite his frequent inconsistency this season. Bogdanovic scored 20 of his 24 points in the first half. He scored 13 points in the first quarter alone, surpassing Joe Johnson's average for total points per game and the 24 marks a season-high.

Behind his lead, the Nets scored a season-high 66 points in the first half and led by as many as 21.  Not only was it a season-high, but it also marked the largest halftime lead they've had in close to two years. Without Joe Jesus.

Speaking of former Nets, Mirza Teletovic gave his best effort in bringing the Suns back into the game in the third quarter. He helped cut the deficit down to 11, but the Nets answered with a 15-2 run and brought their lead back up to 25.

The Nets had to give us all a little scare in the fourth quarter. They went over seven minutes without a single bucket and allowed Phoenix to cut it down to 10. Thaddeus Young put the game on ice following two back-to-back buckets witb under two minutes left.

"Fearza" finished with a team-high and season-high 30 points and 11 rebounds. How could you not be happy for this guy? It was just a little over a year ago the news broke about blood clots found in his lungs, the reason why his season and career with the Nets came to an abrupt end.

The Suns (14-44) went into Thursday losers of 12 straight -the NBA's worst team over the last two months.

Brook Lopez on the other hand, went into Thursday coming off a season-high 36 points in a loss to Portland. He was rather quiet with only 12 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes.

With Joe gone and Bojan stepping in the starters role, everybody else was forced to step up. Donald Sloan had himself a near triple-double day with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists; Thaddeus Young finished in triple-double territory as well with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven STEALS; Wayne Ellington also put home 11 points.

Off the bench, Markel Brown continued to put another notch in Tony Brown's belt with 16 points in 25 minutes - his fifth game in double digits this month. Shane Larkin also chipped in 11 points.

As a whole, the Nets had seven players in double figures, nailed eight three-pointers and shot 49 percent from the field.

Former Net Kris Humphries finished with zero points (0-for-9) and 10 rebounds in 11 minutes. What an odd stat line. Young stud Devin Booker also struggled with 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

The Nets are 1-0 in the post-Joe Johnson era. Feels weird, doesn't it?

Next up: Saturday, 9:30 at Utah.

For more on the Phoenix Suns, check them out at Bright Side Of The Sun.