Brooklyn Nets' Deron Williams walks with teammate Jarrett Jack to...

Brooklyn Nets' Deron Williams walks with teammate Jarrett Jack to the bench during a time out during the second half of an NBA game against the Dallas Mavericks Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Dallas. Credit: AP / LM Otero

Joe Johnson was discussing the Nets' big win over the Pacers Saturday night, standing in the spotlight of a television camera, when Jarrett Jack felt it was time to swoop in for his practical joke opportunity.

With Johnson in mid-sentence, Jack interrupted him, deciding to hand-deliver an item at that very moment.

"Here goes your baby oil, Joe," Jack said.

"Aw, man, you know what?" an amused Johnson said. "You are so funny. C'mon, man. You don't see me talking to the people? Aw, you kill me."

Johnson, taking Jack's comedic moment in stride, added: "Y'all have to excuse him."

There's surely no need for the Nets to apologize for their play lately, though. They have won four of their last five games, righting themselves just in time to climb back into playoff contention.

The 11th-place Nets are one game behind the eighth-place Hornets and a half-game behind the Celtics and Pacers, who are tied for ninth. They can further their cause by beating the Celtics Monday night at Barclays Center.

"This is huge for us," said Deron Williams, who had 17 points and six assists Saturday.

"We've talked about it before, how important this two-game stretch was, and we've got two wins," Williams said. "So we've got to keep it going. We put ourselves in a good position right now. They are two teams that are in front of us in the standings and we've got some good wins.

"We've got another one against Boston and another one against Charlotte. So all of these games right now we've got are really crucial games."

Closing out the opposition has been a struggle for the Nets all season, but they've found the right formula in the last two games, beginning with their strong finish in their triple-overtime win over Milwaukee. Same thing happened in the fourth quarter against the Pacers. Indiana twice crept within a point and the Nets remained poised, ripping off a 12-3 run near the end of the game to secure it.

"Teams make runs and we've responded," Brook Lopez said. "We haven't put our head down and given up. We keep going. And the ball is really popping offensively. It's really moving. We are all playing very confidently right now and trusting each other."

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