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Nets 108, Suns 95

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NEW YORK — Guard Deron Williams scored 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting while recording three steals as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Phoenix Suns 108-95 on Monday night.

It was the Nets’ eighth win in 10 games as they are three games over .500 for the second time this season.

Williams led a balanced offensive effort that saw all five Brooklyn starters score in double figures. Guard Joe Johnson added 19 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The Suns have lost four of their last six games as they hunt for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They dropped 1.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who occupy the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

The Nets used a 9-2 run early in the second half to build a 20-point lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter. The Suns answered with a 14-3 run over the following three minutes to cut their deficit to nine points, but that was as close as they would come.

Taking on a team that was physical down low, the Nets had no trouble scoring under the basket. Since January 1, the Nets scored 44 or more points in the paint five times. In the first half alone, the Nets scored 44 points in the lane. They finished the night with 52.

Suns guard Gerald Green led his side with 17 points off the bench, while Goran Dragic, who was averaging 20.5 points and 6.1 assists per game, was held to just 13 points and two assists as foul trouble limited his time. Forward Markieff Morris tied for a team-high with 17 points in the Suns loss.

The Nets started hot, shooting 8-of-11 from the field to open the evening as they built a first-half lead as large as 14 points. The Nets defense was did well by forcing the Suns’ bigs to settle for outside shots while dictating a fast-paced tempo.

The scoring was being distributed nicely for the Nets on their way to a 67.5 percent shooting mark in the half. All five starters had at least seven points in the first half as they built a 62-49 halftime lead, with Williams leading the charge with 15 points.

Green also had 15 points in the first half.

There was a Plumlee family affair taking place at the opening tip-off as opposing centers and brothers, Miles for the Suns and Mason for the Nets, each received starts on Monday night. The younger brother, Mason, recorded 14 points and nine rebounds while Phoenix’s Miles had three points and six rebounds.

NOTES: The Nets have won eight of their last 10 games, moving them up to second place in the Atlantic Division, three games behind the Toronto Raptors. …The Suns began the day 10 games over .500 at 38-28, leaving them one game out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. If they were playing in the East, Phoenix would be third in the conference… Suns G Goran Dragic is making a name for himself in the NBA during his fifth season. The Slovenian is averaging 20.5 points per game and 6.1 assists…Averaging 105.2 points per game, the Suns offense took on an ever-improving Nets defense that has climbed up to eighth in the league allowing 98.9 ppg.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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