Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-100 in a game where the Nets dominated on offense and were frequently beat up in rebounding. Brooklyn had a 22 point lead at halftime, but the Cavs ended the third quarter on a 10-0 run to make the game interesting in the fourth quarter. In the 4th, the Nets led by Joe Johnson, suddenly got hot from three point territory despite struggling from there throughout most of the game. As a result, Brooklyn was able to stave off the Cavs, and demonstrate some growth from their terrible loss to the Timberwolves a week ago.
The featured Nets players, Deron Williams (26), Joe Johnson (25), and Brook Lopez (23), each finished with over 20 points. Williams had 10 assists, Johnson had 6 assists, and Brook Lopez had 4 blocked shots. Blatche, Evans, and Humphries also factored into the win. However, the Nets could not contain Anderson Varejao or Kyrie Irving tonight, as both had career games. Anderson had a career high 35 points on 16-21 shooting on top of 18 rebounds (11 offensive) and Irving had 34 points and 8 assists. Lopez seemed very unable to box out Varejao throughout the game. Irving was too quick around the basket for the Nets’ slow bigs.
Without doubt, the Nets featured players played better together tonight than they have at any point in any other game this season. Johnson took fewer shots than Williams did and Lopez was an efficient 10 of 14 from the field. Lopez scored many easy baskets tonight.
Now the Nets are 4-2, despite having missed Gerald Wallace the past five games. MarShon Brooks also did not play tonight with an injury.
For a box score of the game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Kris Humphries: B-
For once, Humphries had fewer rebounds than Brook Lopez. Humphries had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 personal fouls.
Brook Lopez: B
Lopez was very efficient offensively but pathetic defensively and in rebounding.
Deron Williams: A-
Williams had a double double but was a team worst -7.
Joe Johnson: B+
Johnson hit a few big threes in the fourth quarter. He went into Iso-Joe mode more infrequently than usual in the first half.
Reggie Evans: B+
Evans had 8 rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time, contributing to the Nets bench that seriously outplayed the Cavs bench.
C.J. Watson: B
Watson’s second unit was excellent tonight. Watson didn’t put up big numbers himself.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche was better defensively than Lopez was tonight and also efficient offensively, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes.
The Nets have a day off tomorrow and then face the Celtics on Thursday at 8:00 on TNT. This game will be a good test for the Nets and help them gauge how much they need to improve over the course of the season in order to compete for the division title. We are looking forward to it.