Nets 115, Hornets 87
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)
Rookie Terrence Williams is finally figuring out how to play in the NBA, and so are the New Jersey Nets to be honest.
Williams had 14 points and a career-high 14 assists and the Nets posted their biggest win of the season with a 115-87 decision over the slumping New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.
``Terrence was terrific,'' Nets interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe said.
Unstoppable might have been a better word because the Hornets had no answer for Williams, who was 7 of 13 from the field and was the undeniable catalyst as the Nets (11-65) won for the fourth time in six games.
``He's a guy who can run the point guard, a guy who can play the two and the three and he's athletic,'' Nets point guard Devin Harris said. ``He can do a lot of things on the floor and open things up. He adds a different dimension to the bench.''
Over the last month, Williams has averaged 14.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists, not bad for a guy who was in Vandeweghe's doghouse earlier this season.
Williams says the bench time helped him see what he needed to do.
``It was time to grow up,'' Williams said. ``I'm in the NBA now, I'm not in high school and I'm not in college. It was time for me to take responsibility for myself and my actions and why I was playing the way I was.''
David West, who had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead New Orleans, noticed Williams in the game in which the Hornets allowed 40 fast-break points.
``They ran and they were too athletic on the wing, and out front we couldn't guard them,'' West said. ``Williams, I think that's what his name is, was too much. When he came in he turned the course of the game. He was a bad matchup for us and we were never able to get them under control.''
Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 17 points, and Chris Humphries added 10 points and season-high tying 12 rebounds as New Jersey (11-65) shot a season-high 58.2 percent in sending the Hornets to their third straight loss and 11th in 14 games.
The Nets had a season-high 34 assists and had eight players score in double figures and two others with at least seven points in winning for the fourth time in six games. It marked the first time New Jersey had eight players in double figures since November 2002.
The Nets never trailed after Brook Lopez (12 points) converted a three-point play with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
New Jersey led 30-24 after the opening period and pushed the lead to 17 points in a second quarter dominated by Williams. He had 12 points and five assists and was a one-man highlight shot.
Williams hit a variety of shots, driving the lane for an awesome dunk, tossing in an off-balance 20-footer that beat the shot clock and waking up the crowd with an electrifying dunk on alley-oop from Harris.
``We're playing well right now,'' Harris said. ``I like the way the ball is moving. I don't know how many assists we had but we're moving the ball from side to side. When we can attack from side to side we can be very effective.''
New Jersey shot almost 54 percent from the field in taking a 59-47 halftime lead, but it had to fight off one run by New Orleans in the third quarter.
Yi Jianlian hit three jumpers early in the quarter to help the Nets take a 69-53 lead.
The Hornets drew within seven points on several occasions, the last time at 78-71 on two free throws by West with 1:46 left in the quarter.
Keyon Dooling then beat the shot clock with a jumper, Josh Boone scored on a dunk off Williams' feed and Humphries nailed a jumper for an 84-71 lead.
When New Jersey opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run capped by a Williams slam, the game was over and so was the Hornets' five-game winning streak over New Jersey.
NOTES: Nets official scorer Herb Turetzky worked his 1,100th consecutive game. ... Harris had a monster block on a fast-break layup attempt by Darren Collison late in the third quarter, sending the ball into the first row of the fans on the sideline. ... New Orleans was 1 of 11 from 3-point range. The Nets were 4 of 9. ... The teams split two games this season, with New Orleans winning 103-99 at home on Jan. 8. ... The Hornets have lost 12 of 13 on the road. ... The 28-point margin of victory was the Nets' biggest over New Orleans.