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Nets 114, Timberwolves 99

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NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets continued to enjoy home cooking, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 for their 13th consecutive victory at Barclays Center Sunday night.

The Nets, who tied a franchise record set in 2002 for consecutive home wins, moved a step closer to clinching a playoff berth. Brooklyn can accomplish that with a Knicks loss Sunday night.

Forward Paul Pierce had 22 points, guard Joe Johnson had 19 points, forward Andray Blatche had 14 points and six rebounds, forward Alan Anderson had 13 points, and forward Mason Plumlee and guard Shaun Livingston added 13 points apiece for the Nets, who scored 100-plus points for the eighth consecutive game, their longest streak since 1994.

By making a short jumper in the second quarter, Johnson became the 15th active NBA player to reach 17,000 career points, joining teammates Kevin Garnett and Pierce. Johnson also scored in double figures for the ninth consecutive game.

Guard Kevin Martin and forward Corey Brewer had 21 points apiece for Minnesota. Forward Kevin Love had 14 points and nine rebounds, and center Nikola Pekovic had 13 points for the Timberwolves, who lost for the fourth time in six games.

The Nets (39-33) had a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but outscored Minnesota 15-5, capped by a Plumlee dunk, to take a 105-91 lead, their largest of the game, with 4:11 left in regulation.

After scoring 17 points in the opening quarter against Cleveland Friday, Pierce went on a personal 8-0 run, scoring 16 of his team’s first 27 points as the Nets led the Timberwolves, 30-27, after one quarter. Pierce was 6-of-6 from the field, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range in a shade under 10 minutes.

Brooklyn extended its lead to 13 on a 3-pointer by forward Mirza Teletovic with 6:11 left in the second quarter and held a 59-54 advantage into halftime.

The Nets got into foul trouble in the third quarter with both Pierce and guard Deron Williams picking up their fourth. The Timberwolves capitalized, outscoring Brooklyn 15-2 to open the second half, including a Brewer dunk putback to give Minnesota (36-36) a 69-63 lead with 8:08 left in the third quarter, its first advantage since late in the first quarter.

However, Brooklyn closed the third quarter strong, going on a 9-0 run capped by a dunk by Livingston to regain the lead, which was three points heading into the final 12 minutes.

NOTES: Nets F Andrei Kirilenko (sprained left ankle) is targeting a midweek return, while F Kevin Garnett (back spasms) could be back anytime between Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons and April 9 against the Magic in Orlando, the team announced Sunday. … Nets G Deron Williams stretched his streak of consecutive games with at least one steal to 22, the best in the NBA this season. … Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said C Nikola Pekovic “seems fine” after scoring 26 points in 22 minutes in a 143-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday after missing six games with a sore right ankle. “The other night I thought it wasn’t until the third quarter that it looked like he was getting a little fatigued,” Adelman said before Sunday’s game. “The first half I thought he was fine.” … Adelman said there is no timetable for the return of C Ronny Turiaf, who missed his 17th game due to a bone bruise on right knee.

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

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