Milwaukee, WI – Deron Williams had 23 points and eight assists in his second outing back from an ankle injury, and the Brooklyn Nets dominated the game's latter stages to rally for a 97-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
The Nets outscored Milwaukee by a 34-19 margin over the final 13-plus minutes to battle back from a 12-point deficit late in the third quarter and sweep the home-and-home set between the clubs. Brooklyn came through with a 113-111 overtime triumph over the Bucks at the Barclays Center on Tuesday, ending a 13-game losing skid in the series.
"We were just hanging on by our fingernails in the first half, and the bench came in and gave us a great lift in the first half and got us back in the game," Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo said.
C.J. Watson added 17 points and six assists and Andray Blatche racked up 12 points and 12 rebounds, with the pair keying a strong bench effort in which the Nets finished with a 47-24 scoring advantage over Milwaukee's reserves.
The Bucks were dealt a sixth defeat in their last seven overall outings despite a 31-point, 11-assist performance from Brandon Jennings and double- doubles out of Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova.
"Tonight, I think fatigue caught up to us a little bit, but I'm not going to blame it on that," Sanders said.
Sanders compiled 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots, with Ilyasova finishing with 12 points and 12 boards.
Down 75-63 with 1:23 left in the third quarter, the Nets embarked on a 16-1 run that was ignited by Blatche and fellow sub MarShon Brooks to move in front. Blatche netted six points and Brooks seven during the surge, with the latter's two made free throws giving Brooklyn a 79-76 edge with nine minutes left.
The Bucks would forge an 81-81 tie on Monta Ellis' layup in transition with 6:24 to play, but Brooklyn's Keith Bogans drilled a triple less than a minute later and Kris Humphries converted a conventional three-point play on the Nets' ensuing possession, sparking an 8-0 spurt that put the visitors up 89-81 with under three minutes remaining.
A Williams three-pointer with 1:50 to go staked Brooklyn to a seemingly comfortable 94-83 lead, but Milwaukee came roaring back with nine straight points, capped by a Jennings' layup that made it a two-point game with 33.9 seconds showing.
Williams then gave the Bucks an opening in the final seconds, first hitting just 1-of-2 from the line with 4.1 seconds left to keep it a one-possession affair at 97-94, then fouling Ellis behind the three-point arc to create an opportunity to force overtime.
However, Ellis missed on each of his first two attempts before intentionally botching the third, and the Nets' Gerald Wallace came up with the rebound to seal the outcome.
Jennings, who put up 34 points in Tuesday's narrow loss, made his presence felt right from the start in this one as well.
The playmaking guard dropped in 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting over the game's first six-plus minutes and leading a 7-0 run that staked the Bucks to an early 17-8 lead. The margin would reach double digits shortly after, when an Ilyasova three-pointer with just under four minutes left in the first quarter put Milwaukee up by a 23-12 count.
The Nets, who shot just 28 percent in the opening frame, closed the gap via a 9-0 spurt that cut the deficit to 35-32 just over four minutes into the second quarter. Milwaukee finished the half on a 9-3 flurry, however, and went into the break claiming a 54-42 advantage after Ellis drove the lane and scored with 2.9 seconds to go.
The Nets had dropped six straight at the Bradley Center since a 99-95 decision there on Mar. 3, 2009 ... Brooklyn's Joe Johnson had a string of 35 consecutive double-figure scoring games end after notching just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting ... The Nets improved to 19-8 since P.J. Carlesimo took over behind the bench, matching the best start by a head coach in franchise history set by Lawrence Frank in 2003-04 ... Jennings has now averaged 30.0 points while making 22-of-41 tries from three-point range in his last six meetings with the Nets. He also reached the 30-point mark for the eighth time this season, matching a career high for 30-point games set in 2011-12.