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Brooklyn Nets rally past Phoenix Suns

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
Brooklyn Nets rally past Phoenix Suns
KJ McDaniels scored a season-high 16 points, and the second unit totaled 81 points as Brooklyn rallied from an early 15-point deficit and pulled away for a 126-98 rout of the Phoenix Suns. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- Coming off a dramatic last-second win, the Brooklyn Nets saw things going south in a hurry Thursday.

Their attempts to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly a year started with a state of confusion, and the Nets were so out of sorts that during a timeout, pens went flying followed by the clipboards from coach Kenny Atkinson's hands.

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It was the jolt the Nets needed, along with a big night from their reserves.

KJ McDaniels scored a season-high 16 points, and the second unit totaled 81 points as Brooklyn rallied from an early 15-point deficit and pulled away for a 126-98 rout of the Phoenix Suns.

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"I was very worried," Atkinson said. "We were out of rhythm. We were completely out of sorts, and then we took the timeout. I kind of had to (give) a wakeup call, let's put it that way, a stern wakeup call. Pens were flying and clipboards were flying, and sometimes you have to do that."

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Nets guard Jeremy Lin said, "He was red from yelling. It was necessary. We deserved it. I thought he did a good job of firing us up, and then the guys responded."

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 19 points but it was the bench sparking things as six reserves reached double figures. Trevor Booker added 14, Archie Goodwin and Quincy Acy contributed 12 apiece, and rookie Isaiah Whitehead and Justin Hamilton chipped in 11 and 10, respectively.

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"I thought our bench was just so big tonight," Lopez said. "They came in and played superb and got us back in the game. I think they were the difference-maker tonight."

After falling behind by 15 with two minutes left in the opening quarter, the Nets outscored the Suns 111-66 the rest of the way, but it was a gradual comeback. Brooklyn quickly got back in the game in the second and held a two-point lead by halftime before pulling away.

"That's him waking us up," Goodwin said of Atkinson. "We needed a wakeup call."

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Lopez helped the Nets surge ahead with 12 of his 19 team-leading points in the third. The Nets never trailed after his dunk made it 59-57 with 8:34 left, and he scored four more in a 9-2 spurt that made it 68-59 before getting his final points when Brooklyn ripped off 12 straight points for an 82-63 lead with two minutes left in the third.

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By the fourth quarter, Lopez was enjoying watching Brooklyn's young reserves open up a 33-point lead, helping the Nets coast to consecutive wins for the first time since beating the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers March 24-26.

While the Nets were posting their most lopsided home win of the season and sixth in the last 13 games, it was another tough night for the Suns, who dressed only nine players as Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler were held out to rest.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 28 points but shot 2 of 13 after halftime and 9 of 26 overall. Rookie Marquese Chriss added 23 but picked up fourth foul early in the third and was on the bench when the Nets surged in front.

"I can't repeat it," Phoenix coach Earl Watson said when how he addressed the team after the game. "The message tonight has to stay in that locker room. The gist of it is, take pride in what you do, play the right way and understand the only thing that matters is the guys that are on the court because it's tough to go out there every night, not have enough to rotate and then you have to stand in front of the cameras and do interviews."

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Phoenix (22-50) dropped its sixth straight and reached 50 losses in consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history. The other instance occurred in the 1973-74 and 1974-75 campaigns under coach John McLeod.

Phoenix also is 1-8 since beating the Boston Celtics on March 5 and 2-10 in its past 12 road games since Jan. 22.

NOTES:

-- Nets G Jeremy Lin scored 13 points in 21 minutes after missing Tuesday's game with a sprained right ankle. He said did not feel any pain in his ankle.

-- Phoenix rookie C Dragan Bender (right ankle surgery) is shooting and jogging. and coach Earl Watson hopes he will return before the season ends.

-- Nets G Archie Goodwin played the third game of his 10-day contract, and it came against the team he appeared in 150 games for in the previous three seasons.

-- Phoenix F TJ Warren (left foot contusion) missed the game after being listed as questionable.

-- Brooklyn G Joe Harris (sprained left shoulder) missed his 11th straight game, while G Sean Kilpatrick (strained left hamstring) sat out his fifth straight game.

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