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It wasn't pretty, in fact for most of the night it was downright ugly, but the New Jersey Nets opened the season Monday with a 90-84 victory over the Washington Wizards.
New Jersey trailed 26-13 after one quarter and were down by as many as 21 in the first half, but got a jolt from a man that was booed every time he touched the ball. Nets forward Kris Humphries was treated to the same serenading of boos from the Washington fans as he was from those in New York, but the soon-to-be ex-husband of Kim Kardashian responded with a monster effort.
Humphries finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, delivering much needed energy to a sleepwalking Nets squad. Deron Williams had a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds and eight assists while Anthony Morrow rebounded from a terrible start to add 16 points, including a huge 3-pointer from the corner in the final minutes.
Avery Johnson's crew dominated on the boards with a 58-38 margin, getting a big boost from second-year forward Damion James' 14 rebounds. The Nets even got a solid 11-point, five-rebound effort from much-maligned center Johan Petro.
Without Brook Lopez or Dwight Howard manning the middle for New Jersey, expect a lot of games like this one. Stretches of difficultly scoring and falling behind by double digits, while using rebounding and defense to get themselves back into the game.
The victory for New Jersey put a stop to a four-game losing streak to the Wizards in the nation's capital.
The Nets return to action Tuesday night in their home opener against the Atlanta Hawks at the Prudential Center in Newark. It will be the Hawks first game of the season.