MILWAUKEE -- Naturally the Nets were unfazed that the time was slipping away toward the trading deadline. A ticking clock brings out the best in them.
The later it gets, the better they get, it seems. At least it has seemed that way the past two days against the Bucks. The Nets made it two-for-two with a second consecutive rousing win, 97-94, Wednesday night.
This time, they didn't need two dramatic shots by Joe Johnson, as they had on Tuesday.
Instead, they got a huge boost from their bench players -- some of whom kept hearing their names in rumored deals -- and they got a bit of a hand from the opponent.
Monta Ellis did miss two of three free throws with 2.4 seconds left, missing the third on purpose.
Still, the real story was that the Nets had been down almost the whole game and came back to score the first 11 points of the fourth quarter. They grabbed their fourth straight win and raised questions about whether it would be worth endangering the chemistry with a trade before the 3 p.m deadline Thursday.
MarShon Brooks, one of the rumored Nets Most Likely To Go, barely played until the fourth quarter, then scored seven critical points.
"It's one game, we've got to move on. But it's really big," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We could have lost this one by 14 or 18 and said, 'Hey, it was a back to back. They just took it to us.'
"I think it's primarily because of the bench, but also because of we're starting to get a mentality to not be accepting of when things don't go right We find a way to hang in there."
Deron Williams, whose arrival at the trading deadline two years ago changed the trajectory and outlook of the team, had a team-high 23 points and held his breath after he was called for a foul on Ellis' three-point attempt. It all worked out.
"We got down today and we were able to hold our composure," said Williams, adding that he will get cortisone shots Thursday on his ankles, which he added, felt "pretty good" Wednesday night.
If Williams had a worry, it was that he wouldn't get back in the game because the subs were playing so well. Of Watson, his backup, he said, "A big reason we won this game was his effort, on both ends."
Watson made the key basket with 15.9 seconds left, after the Bucks had cut the 11-point lead to two. "We just wanted to come out there and make a difference," Watson said of the backups, "try to play the best we can in the minutes we're given. That's all we can ask for."
Brooks could ask for more regular playing time, or the privilege of not hearing his name in trade rumors, but he realizes it's part of the job.
"At first it was tough," he said, "but now I'm starting to get better at it. Honest.
"It's basketball, man. Something I love to do. I've been playing since I was 5 years old," Brooks said. "I'm just very fortunate to be in this situation. Whatever situation I'm in."