<
>

Starting Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin in second half sparks Nets

The Brooklyn Nets were on the verge of getting blown out again -- which prompted their coach to make a change.

It wasn’t as drastic as he initially planned it to be, but Lionel Hollins’ decision to start Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin in the third quarter over Bojan Bogdanovic and Jarrett Jack paid off in the form of a huge comeback victory.

Ellington scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half, Larkin had all seven of his assists in the third quarter, and the Nets rallied back from a 16-point deficit to stun the Miami Heat 111-105 on Monday night. Brooklyn (9-22) improved to 3-12 on the road.

Over the course of the season, some of Hollins’ decisions haven’t panned out the way he hoped they would.

This one certainly did.

“We were down 14 (going into the locker room), and we looked like we weren’t going anywhere,” Hollins told reporters at AmericanAirlines Arena. “We looked like we were dying, and I needed a spark.”

The Nets missed their final eight shots in the second quarter en route to falling behind 58-44. They shot just 31.8 percent in the first half.

“I had written on a piece of paper to take all five starters (including Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young and Joe Johnson) out,” Hollins said. “And then as I walked to the court I re-thought that and decided to just take the guards out and see if that would be enough -- and it turned out to be enough.”

With Ellington and Larkin leading the way, the Nets shot 66.7 percent in the third quarter and outscored the Heat 34-19 in the quarter to take a one-point lead.

Hollins also went to seldom-used Thomas Robinson over Andrea Bargnani in the third, and Robinson rewarded him with eight strong minutes (five points, three rebounds, plus-8).

Brooklyn increased that lead to double digits in the fourth before playing poorly down the stretch and hanging on. The Nets committed six turnovers in the final period -- and now have 23 fourth-quarter miscues in their past four games.

Johnson went 1-for-6 from the field overall and is shooting 31.5 percent in his past 10 games.

Lopez had 26 points on 24 shots and 12 rebounds. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade each scored 24 for the Heat, who shot just 35.7 percent in the second half.

Ellington hit seven of Brooklyn’s 12 3-pointers. The Nets came in averaging 5.2 3-point makes per game

“When Coach told Shane and myself we were going to start [the second half], we just wanted to bring more energy at the defensive end of the floor, we wanted to attack on the offensive end of the floor, and it turned out good for us,” Ellington told the YES Network.