On a night when the focus was on everything but basketball for the Nets, they managed to come up with a crucial victory.

Behind big games from Deron Williams and Paul Pierce, the Nets were able to come away with a 108-102 win over the Lakers in front of a sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center Sunday night, improving to
2-1 on their two-week, six-game Western road trip and making Jason Collins’ season debut a successful one.

“We talked about it [Saturday],” said Pierce, who finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists. “We came together as a team and just tried to talk about everything that was going on — the back-to-back situation, the publicity of Jason coming in — so we were really prepared for the blitz of all this coming our way, and I’m happy with the way we responded.

“So far we’re 2-1 on this road trip, and we’ve got three more games, and we’re going to continue to play well.”

Playing without Kevin Garnett (rest day), Shaun Livingston (bruised
tailbone) and Marcus Thornton (food poisoning), the Nets (26-28) were powered by Williams (30 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a career-high six steals) and Pierce.

Their performances helped the Nets to do something they’ve rarely been able to this season: win the second half of a back-to-back on the road. Sunday’s win was just the Nets’ third in 13 such chances this season.

“I didn’t know it was a back-to-back,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said with a smile. “There was energy from the guys. We were shorthanded, but guys came out with a lot of energy.”