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Indiana at New Jersey

Williams runs show as Nets salvage home-and-home split

CBSSports.com wire reports
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New Jersey Nets knew replacing Jason Kidd would be a tough task. So far, Marcus Williams has risen to the challenge.

Inheriting the role of point guard following the trade of Kidd, Williams had another strong game with a career-high 13 assists to go along with eight points and seven rebounds as the Nets beat the Indiana Pacers 102-91 on Saturday night.

The Nets are 2-1 since dealing Kidd, and Williams played well in both victories. In New Jersey's 113-103 loss at Indianapolis on Friday, Williams struggled with five points, four assists and three turnovers.

"Coach told me everyone has a bad game," Williams said. "It's all about how you respond. My main focus was being intense. I tried to play hard on defense and bounce back on offense."

The Nets could potentially have two young point guards when Devin Harris finally joins the lineup. Harris, the key player for the Nets in the Kidd deal, has been sidelined by an ankle sprain.

"It's a potentially great situation," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Let's not overreact. Marcus, the way he is playing is showing he has a very big upside. I know he'll continue to work to get better."

The veterans also played key roles for the Nets.

Richard Jefferson equaled his season high with 36 points and Vince Carter had 24. Josh Boone added 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Danny Granger scored 29 points for the Pacers, who have dropped four of five.

"They were good and they've only played a few games with Marcus Williams," Granger said. "He's not Jason Kidd, obviously, but I think he's going to be a good point guard. When you have wings like Jefferson and Carter, you are always going to be in the game."

Mike Dunleavy had 19 points, Troy Murphy 13 and Kareem Rush 10 for the Pacers.

Jefferson had the hot hand to start the third, making his first five shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Nets widened the advantage to 64-51. New Jersey finished the quarter with a 78-69 lead as Jefferson had 17 points in the period.

The Nets remained in control throughout the fourth quarter and only a strong period by Granger kept the Pacers in it.

He had 11 of Indiana's 22 points in the quarter, including the Pacers' last basket -- a 3-pointer with 2:22 remaining that cut the Nets lead to 96-91. New Jersey got the final six points of the game at the free-throw line.

"We just couldn't knock down the open shots we had," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "Maybe we were a little leg weary from the back-to-back games."

Jeff Foster and Granger each scored points as the Pacers led 27-24 after one period with Granger's points coming on a pair of 3-point baskets.

The Nets closed out the second quarter on a 12-3 run to take a 50-46 lead at the half. Carter scored the last four points of the period with a pair of free throws followed by a fadeaway jumper with 5 seconds remaining. Carter topped all scorers in the half with 18 points.

Notes

  • Commenting on the coaching upheaval at Indiana University, his alma mater, Frank said: "I feel bad for the university, going through something like this. I do know Dan Dakich. He's a good friend of mine. Although it's not a situation any coach would want, Dan Dakich will do a great job."
  • Harris is still at least a week away from making his New Jersey debut. "He can do everything north-south," Frank said. "He's still working on going east-west with his lateral movement. These ankle sprains can be monsters."
  • The Pacers' inactives were Jermaine O'Neal (16 straight games with a knee injury) and Jamaal Tinsley (seven, knee). The win gave the Nets a season-high four-game winning streak at the Izod Center.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Things are looking up for Vince Carter and Nets -- on this night, at least. (AP)
Things are looking up for Vince Carter and Nets -- on this night, at least. (AP)

Scoreboard
Indiana (22-34) 2719232291
New Jersey (25-31) «24262824102
IND:D. Granger 29 Pts
IND:T. Murphy 5 Reb
IND:D. Granger 5 Ast
NJ:R. Jefferson 36 Pts
NJ:J. Boone 13 Reb
NJ:M. Williams 13 Ast
Players of the Game
New JerseyIndiana

R. Jefferson

D. Granger
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
36202935

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Indiana
D. Granger, SF4011-223-335529
M. Dunleavy, SG377-154-742319
T. Murphy, C322-68-1054613
T. Diener, PG292-80-02314
J. Foster, C243-40-04126
K. Rush, SG294-100-031210
M. Daniels, SG262-80-25325
S. Williams, SF160-71-22221
D. Harrison, C62-20-15014
S. Graham, SF10-00-00000
J. O'Neal, PFDid Not Play
J. Tinsley, PGDid Not Play
I. Diogu, PFDid Not Play
A. Owens, SGDid Not Play
Totals 33-8316-2533212491
 39.8%64.0% 
New Jersey
V. Carter, SG439-176-795424
R. Jefferson, SF3812-218-1020336
M. Williams, PG342-72-271318
J. Boone, PF307-95-5131219
N. Krstic, C173-71-23137
B. Nachbar, SF280-44-48344
T. Hassell, SF161-50-06112
D. Armstrong, PG150-10-03020
S. Williams, PF131-30-05112
D. Diop, C60-10-01010
K. Van Horn, PFDid Not Play
J. Magloire, CDid Not Play
S. Swift, CDid Not Play
D. Harris, SGDid Not Play
M. Ager, SGDid Not Play
Totals 35-7526-30572522102
 46.7%86.7% 
Other Games
Char 95 Final
Wash 110
Phi 101 Final
Mia 96
Den 109 Final
Mil 115
NO 89 Final
SA 98
Atl 94 Final
Utah 100
LAL 113 Final
LAC 95