DALLAS - Guess the wintry, icy conditions around the Metroplex hypnotized the Nets, tricking them into thinking they were back in the Northeast rather than the Southwest, squaring off against another potent, high-scoring Western Conference foe.
They surely weren't intimidated by the Mavericks at American Airlines Center Saturday night. And no one was as comfortable as Deron Williams, the hometown product who played his high school ball at The Colony over in the suburbs.
Williams had 25 points and six rebounds as the Nets ended this trip -- which seemingly covered every square inch of the continental United States -- by pulling out a 104-94 victory that sent them home with a 3-2 mark on their five-city, 11-day trip.
"It felt really good, man," Williams said. "You know, we let two games slip away, really. The New Orleans one was questionable. Those guys, they kind of hit shots and made plays and we just couldn't get stops. But not so much that one as the one [Friday night against Houston], we felt we let slip away.
"The last one on the road trip when you've been gone for a month is sometimes the hardest because you are just so ready to get home. So I am really proud that we came out, fought and got this win tonight."
In taking down the Mavs (39-22), who were paced by Dirk Nowitzki's 20 points, the Nets (24-33) showed they took Lionel Hollins' message the previous night -- about playing intelligently down the stretch -- to heart.
Thaddeus Young nailed a huge floater in the lane with 2:16 left to give the Nets a 99-92 edge and grabbed a clutch offensive rebound 1:16 later, tossing it back out to set something up. That led to Jarrett Jack's teardrop and a 101-92 lead with 53.2 seconds left.
"I think it's huge," said Young, who had 16 points and eight rebounds. "Any time we can take advantage of all opportunities that we get, it would be perfect. When I got the rebound, I knew the shot clock had started over, so it didn't make sense for me to throw another shot up, especially because we had the game well in hand and had the lead. It's all about getting smart possessions, smart opportunities and not throwing crazy shots up."
"I thought we played extremely well and we had a good road trip," Hollins said, "and to close out the road trip with a win here in Dallas is just going to up in class in terms of opponent. And we had a chance to win every game and felt like last night was our game. We didn't get it, but we came back tonight and we were strong mentally to step up. We jumped on them early, we rode the lead through the game and ultimately got the win."