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Nets barely hold off storming Jazz and win second straight, 98-96

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Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets are 2-0 in the post-Joe Johnson era. Who would've thought?

Following a solid 10-point victory over the Phoenix Suns Thursday night, the Nets won their second straight game with a 98-86 victory over the Jazz in Utah, Saturday night. It's the first time the Nets have won two consecutive games under Tony Brown ... and the first since early December.

The win improves their away record to 6-20 on the road and 17-42 on the season. The young guns of Brooklyn played the spoiler role and dropped the nine-seed Jazz to 28-30 on the season.

The game was close throughout. Well, up until the Nets finished the third quarter on a 9-1 run and extended their lead to 13 in the fourth quarter. Like much of the season, they rode the frontcourt duo of Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez and things seemed to be going their way for a second straight night.

The most important aspect of the Nets finding success through three quarter was forcing Utah to commit silly turnovers. They had 21 entering the fourth and finished with... 21.

This is when things went south for the Nets: the inevitable fourth quarter meltdown. They stopped forcing turnovers and the Jazz cut down the 13-point lead down to three with 47 seconds left. But then, Lopez drove in the lane and put the Nets up five.

This forced the Jazz to execute down the stretch and hope for some missed free throws. Playing the Nets? Highly possible.

The Nets allowed Gordon Hayward to score four easy points and fouled Rodney Hood from three-point range, all within the final 47 seconds of the game. Both Donald Sloan and Wayne Ellington missed a free throw and gave Utah a chance to win the game.

Gordon Hayward (27 points) didn't get the last shot, but rather Joe Ingles got the chance. Ingles waved off Hayward and just barely missed a potential game-winning three as time expired. Phew.

The win wasn't possible without the big night from Young. He finished with a team-high 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals. He's come up with 10 steals over the last two games.

Lopez, who was held to eight points in the last contest against Utah, put home a solid 19 points and six rebounds. Wayne Ellington chipped in 16 points and Donald Sloan 10.

To go along with the four turnovers, Markel Brown turned into a defensive liability down the stretch. He was given the assignment of covering Gordon Hayward, but allowed him to score in less than three seconds. On the next possession, he fouled Rodney Hood from three-point range. On the third and final defensive stand, he allowed Hayward to score on a wide-open layup.

Bojan Bogdanovic typically struggled on defense and shot 3-for-11 tonight. He, along with Brown, became liabilities for the Nets at the end.

As a whole, the Nets hit seven three-pointers and forced the Jazz to shoot 42 percent from the field. They also came up with 12 steals and forced 21 turnovers as the defense proved to become Brooklyn's primary strength in this one, that and their new prowess at pushing the ball.  For the second straight game, Brooklyn had more than 20 fast break points. The Utah point guards went 3-for-15 with only three assists and five turnovers.

Things can never be easy with the Nets, but as we always say: a win is a win. They'll look for the unheard three-game win streak on Monday.

Next up: Los Angeles Clippers, Monday at 10:30 p.m.

For more on the Utah Jazz, check them out at SLC Dunk.