NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Gerald Green knows he's going to get his chances to score when he's on the floor with veterans like Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow.
Green scored a season-high 32 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 36.7 seconds left in regulation and a high-flying dunk in overtime, leading the New Jersey Nets to a 122-117 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
``When I'm on the floor, everyone's attention has to be on them,' Green said. ``It makes my life a whole lot easier. I tend to get a lot of open shots.'
Green, signed as a free agent out of the NDBL in late February, shot 11 for 18 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range to help the Nets win their season-high third straight at home. New Jersey has also won six of nine overall.
``If I have an open shot and I don't take it, my teammates get down on me,' said Green, whose previous best this season was 26 points on two occasions. ``They all tell me to be aggressive and take those shots.'
Anthony Morrow scored 24 points, Deron Williams had 18 points and 10 assists and Kris Humphries added 16 points and 11 rebounds as New Jersey finished with its highest scoring total of the season - topping the 115 in a loss to Denver on Jan. 11.
Antawn Jamison scored a season high-tying 34 points, Lester Hudson had 26 and Alonzo Gee added 22 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, which lost for the 10th time in 11 games and the 13th in their last 15. Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 15 rebounds.
The teams traded the lead seven times in the final 5 minutes of regulation before Green gave the Nets a 109-106 lead with his 3-pointer. However, Hudson sent the game to overtime with a fall-away 3 with just 0.3 seconds left.
``He made that shot, but we didn't drop our heads,' Nets coach Avery Johnson said. ``We just kept on fighting. I think two weeks ago, we would not have won this game.'
Johnson was asked if he considered fouling in the closing seconds with a three-point lead instead of giving Hudson, another signee from the NDBL, the chance to hit the tying shot.
``With a capital `N' and a capital `O,'' Johnson said. ``It's not my philosophy, my mindset. We're not going to foul there.'
The Nets scored the first four points of overtime and never looked back. Humphries had a driving slam with 3:55 left and Green had his big alley-oop dunk off a pass from Williams 22 seconds later that put New Jersey up 113-109.
``I think any time you score first in overtime, it gives you a jump and momentum,' said Humphries, whose dunk was totally uncontested. ``I was surprised I was so open. I guess they thought I was going to kick the ball back out. I was lucky to be able to take it to the basket. Then Gerald Green made that huge dunk and we were on our way. Everyone contributed.'
The Nets led by as many as seven in the extra period.
Cleveland coach Byron Scott, who once led New Jersey to consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, was elated with his team's efforts. The Cavaliers had been regularly getting blown out during their recent nine-game losing streak, but have been getting better efforts of late, thanks to the play of Hudson, who is still on a 10-day contract.
``I'm pretty sure he'll be in a Cleveland uniform for the rest of the season,' Scott said of the relatively unknown Hudson from Tennessee-Martin. ``He's been fantastic for us. He gave us a chance to win tonight. I'm proud of the way played, how hard we played. It's now three straight games of competing and we had our chances in regulation and overtime. I'm comfortable with the way we've been playing.'
After Thompson's dunk tied the score at 60-all with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter, the teams traded the lead three times, before the Nets went on a 9-0 run over a 1:15 span. Morrow had a 3 and Brooks had a driving basket l during the run that gave the Nets a 76-67 lead with 2:02 left in the period.
Cleveland scored the final four points of the quarter to pull within five.
The Nets led by nine - at 85-76 - in the fourth, but the Cavaliers kept fighting back and tied the score at 94 on a rebound dunk by Thompson with 5:37 left.
The Cavaliers held the lead throughout the first quarter and took a 30-26 advantage into the second.
Gerald Wallace, who left the game with 2 1/2 minutes to go in the first half due to a hamstring injury, got the Nets going with a driving three-point play to cut the lead to one just 10 seconds into the second period.
The Nets then went on an 11-0 run over a 2:04 span to take a 44-33 lead with 5:10 left before halftime. Green got things going, scoring on consecutive driving baskets and Brooks added a three-point play in the run.
The Nets led 56-48 at halftime as Green scored 10 of his 13 first-half points in the second quarter.
NOTES: Wallace scored seven points in 17 minutes before his injury. His status for Tuesday's game against Philadelphia is uncertain. ... Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving, a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors and the top scorer among rookies at 18.8 points per game, missed his third straight game due to a shoulder sprain and contusion. ... Nets owner Mikhail Prohkorov was in attendance for the first time this season. He sat in a box on the second level near center court with general manager Billy King. Prohkorov is scheduled to tour the Nets' new home in Brooklyn on Tuesday. ... The two teams split the four-game season series.
The Associated Press News Service
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