For the first time in three years, the New Jersey Nets have won five games in a row, but that’s not the weird part. The weird part is that despite a miserable start wherein they failed to score during the final 6:30 of the first quarter, and despite shooting 39.7% from only 78 attempts, the Nets defeated the mighty Boston Celtics to extend their winning streak to five games.
Brook Lopez led all scores with 20 while Kris Humphries earned a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Deron Williams provided 16 points and 9 assists.
Now, admittedly, it wasn’t exactly a stellar night for the Celtics, who only shot 41.2% from the field. Kevin Garnett provided 18 and Ray Allen added 19, but Paul Pierce struggled to get 7 points, while Rajon Rondo added only 2.
The Nets showed impressive fight to come back from a 14-0 run in the 1st to bring the Celtic lead to 2 points at the half, outscored the Celtics 31-23 in the 3rd (capped by an awesome three point shot by Sundiata Gaines as the 3rd Q expired) and played toe-to-toe defense in the 4th to limit the Celtics to 18 4th quarter points.
Brook Lopez hit a critical shot with 1:14 left in the game, and Deron Williams backed it up with three point shot with :35 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“We knew they’ve been playing well lately, playing with a lot more energy,” Garnett said “D-Will, he’s come over here and gave them sort of like a winning mentality, seems to be working for them. Kris is playing really well for them, Brook is playing really well. They have players that are playing really well, just they’re trying to put it together it seems like.”
I mentioned on Saturday that tonight’s game was a good test for the Nets. At the end of the day, one has to weigh the general un-Celtic-like way that the Celtics were playing, but a Win is a Win, and I was reminded in the post-game show that the 8th seed is only 5 1/2 games away.
That may still be ambitious thinking for a team that’s basically less than a month old, but this is what Coach Avery Johnson said when asked if this team has turned a corner.
“We’re approaching the corner.”
Pumped about the D-Will trade? Feeling good about Lopez and Humphries? Excited about the Nets future and want to talk about it? Follow me on twitter (@kobesmokey), or sign up to blog on From Russia with Dunk, part of the Fansided network.