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Teletovic’s big night carries Nets

Mirza Teletovic's hot hand carried the Nets to a 107-106 win Friday night at the Barclays Center.
AP/Paul Bereswill

Former head coach Avery Johnson once told upper management that Mirza Teletovic’s skill-set would not translate to the NBA game. The Bosnian forward proved why he currently plays in the league and Johnson remains without a job.

Teletovic enjoyed a career-night against the Dallas Mavericks, scoring 34 points on 12-for-18 shooting in a 107-106 Nets’ win over the Dallas Mavericks. Teletovic caught fire in the second quarter and he simply could not miss. He went 9-for-10 from the field and poured in 24 points during for the second unit.

The sharpshooter has come a long way since his DNP-CD days under Johnson. He played sparingly under Johnson’s successor, P.J. Carlesimo, as well.

Current head coach Jason Kidd believed in Teletovic’s ability to mirror the Nets’ Friday night opponent, Dirk Nowitzki. Teletovic averages 9.1 ppg in nearly 20 mpg under the new regime. A new year equated to new results for Teletovic, who easily could have gotten discouraged by the American system.

Teletovic continues to prove that the NBA will always provide a home for natural-born shooters. His ability to face his body toward the basket prior to receiving the ball makes him an excellent quick catch-and-shoot candidate, and he’s paying dividends.

The Nets needed every one of Teletovic’s points as a double-digit Nets’ lead dwindled throughout much of the second half.

Kidd made his second prudent decision of the night following his faith in Teletovic. Kidd opted to foul with less than eight seconds remaining in the game and the Nets leading, 105-102. Nowitzki chose to miss the second free-throw with the hopes of securing the rebound. Andrei Kirilenko snatched the rebound and coolly sank a pair of free-throws, though. The Nets barely held on to the win.

With the win, the Nets moved to 19-22 on the season and 9-1 in 2014. The Nets’ recent surge propelled them from deep in the Eastern Conference standings to a seventh seed. The Nets return to the floor Sunday night for a road tilt in Boston.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will return to their former home for the first time.

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