CLEVELAND – Deron Williams scored 27 points and the New Jersey Nets won consecutive games for the first time this season with a 99-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
New Jersey came into the game battling illness and injuries. Forward Kris Humphries missed Friday morning's shoot-around with the stomach flu, but was in the starting lineup and scored 18 points with 11 rebounds in 33 minutes. The Nets played without center Mehmet Okur (back injury) and guard MarShon Brooks (strained Achilles), but New Jersey led from wire-to-wire despite dressing only 10 players.
The Nets, who defeated Philadelphia in overtime on Wednesday, also completed their first winning road trip with a 2-1 record.
Anthony Morrow added 22 points for New Jersey.
Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 32 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, for Cleveland. The Cavaliers have lost five of six.
The Nets built a 32-20 lead early in the second quarter. Cleveland cut the lead to 36-33 midway through the period, but New Jersey scored 11 straight points and led 47-37 at halftime.
New Jersey opened the third quarter with 3-pointers from Williams and DeShawn Stevenson. The Nets hit five 3-pointers in the period and built a 16-point lead. New Jersey led comfortably throughout most of the fourth quarter until the Cavaliers rallied. Cleveland cut the deficit to eight points with 1:57 remaining. Irving hit a 3-pointer and a layup before Anderson Varejao's jumper with 16.5 seconds left cut the lead to 97-93, but Morrow hit two free throws with 15.6 seconds left. Irving hit at 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Williams also had 10 assists for his fourth straight double-double.
New Jersey last won back-to-back games on March 11-14, 2011. Those were the last two victories in a five-game winning streak. The Nets began this trip with a 15-point loss in Chicago, but bounced back with a 97-90 overtime victory against Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia on Wednesday.
New Jersey coach Avery Johnson didn't know until about an hour before the game if Humphries would be able to play.
Cleveland struggled offensively until the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers didn't get to the free throw line until the 5:25 mark of the second quarter when Antawn Jamison converted two shots.
Jamison scored 20 points while Ramon Sessions added 11.
NOTES: Johnson said Okur will have an MRI on Saturday. Okur missed two games earlier in the season because of back spasms. ... Brooks missed his third straight game and Johnson said he will have a further medical examination Saturday. Brooks might play in Sunday's home game against Toronto. Brooks is the NBA's second-leading scorer among rookies, trailing only Irving. ... Cavaliers F Tristan Thompson, the fourth overall pick in the draft, played after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle. He scored five points in 16 minutes. ... Cleveland plays at Boston on Sunday and hosts the Celtics on Tuesday.