On Wednesday night the Brooklyn Nets, without Deron Williams, got one of their best victories of the season as Joe Johnson led them past the Golden State Warriors 102-98 at the Barclay's Center. Johnson scored 27 points to lead the Nets.
Since the new year started the Nets have been a revelation. They have won four straight games and just snapped a 10 game win streak for the Warriors.
Early on the Warriors came out firing as they hit six three-pointers in the first quarter, led by sharpshooters Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors pushed the lead to 16 points when they led 32-16 late in the quarter. Earlier in the season, the Nets probably would have welted in this situation and accepted defeat.
However, these Nets appear to be turning the corner.
Shaun Livingston said after the game, "We just kept playing. We were playing good D."
With time running out in the first quarter Mirza Teletovic and Johnson hit three's to cut the lead to 10 points. After allowing 32 points in the first quarter, the Nets defense stepped up and only gave up 66 points the rest of the way, not allowing Golden State to score more than 24 points in each of the final three quarters. The Nets went on a 14-4 run in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 37-20, and took a 59-52 lead into halftime after a buzzer-beating three from Teletovic.
This was a complete team victory for Brooklyn with everyone making key plays. Teletovic finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Paul Pierce scored just 11 points but grabbed five boards and made seven of his eight free throw attempts. Shaun Livingston had 13 points, four rebounds and four steals, including a big one on Curry late in the game.
Off the bench, Andray Blatche and Andrei Kirilenko were key contributors along with Teletovic. Blatche scored 17 points and grabbed five boards. Kirilenko had eight points and six boards and did a lot of the little things that don't show up on the stat sheet like keeping balls alive and getting to loose balls.
Finally, Kevin Garnett came through big time in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the final quarter, also coming up with a steal and a block.
Blatche said, "We got down but we didn't give in." Many times throughout this season Jason Kidd's team would have given in.
Defensively, despite the hot start, the Nets were able to cool off Curry and Thompson. Curry finished the game shooting 11 of 25 from the field and just two of 10 from three-point range. Thompson made just five of his 15 attempts. Andre Iguodala also struggled on the offensive end scoring just three points.
The Nets were also able to overcome solid efforts from the Warriors big men, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Lee scored 20 points on nine of 14 shooting and had seven rebounds. Bogut scored 10 points on five of seven shooting and had nine rebounds.
Lots can be made of this game as to why the Nets won despite being without Williams. Mark Jackson's squad was finishing up their last game of a seven game road trip that spanned eleven days. They may have just been dead tired as the game went on.
But the Nets were still resilient. They appear to be starting to come together. Despite their porous record, 14-21, they have moved into eighth place in the woeful Eastern Conference.
Their next game will be on Friday night against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It will be a difficult test, but the Nets appear to finally be headed in the right direction.
- Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets Defeat Atlanta Hawks at Home
- Brooklyn Nets Get Ready for Four Game Home Stand
- Joe Johnson Hits Winner as Brooklyn Nets Stun Thunder in Oklahoma City
- Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets Defeat Cleveland Cavaliers at the Barclay’s Center
- Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson Torches Philadelphia 76ers with Record-Setting Quarter as Nets Win in Rout
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/16jx