For the second straight night, the Brooklyn Nets lost on the road against a western conference playing time, this time to the Houston Rockets, 119-106. This was the most points Brooklyn has allowed in a game this year and the Nets were unable to slow down Houston’s very fast pace. Deron Williams had 27 points and 11 assists for Brooklyn, but was ejected in the final moments of the game. James Harden led the way for Houston with 29 points and 7 assists. Omer Asik also had 20 points and 16 rebounds.
The first quarter of this game was about one player: Deron Williams. Deron had 20 points on 7-7 shooting and 4-4 from 3 in the first quarter to give the Nets a small 29-28 lead. In the second quarter, Williams cooled off and Houston took the lead for good. They outscored Brooklyn 34-20 in the quarter to take a 13 point lead at halftime. The lead ballooned to as much as 20 in the third quarter before the Nets fought back to make it only a 9-point game heading into the fourth. The Nets hung around in the last quarter, but were unable to get the deficit within 8. With about a minute remaining, Deron Williams was ejected after arguing with a ref after he was fouled. He was clearly not happy with how the team played.
The way the Nets played this game, they had no chance to win. Houston is #1 in the NBA in pace and Brooklyn is last, #30. The team who set the tone in terms of pace was going to win the game, and Houston was the team to set that tone. The Rockets forced the Nets to take a season high 36 3-pointers. Luckily, Brooklyn made 16 of them, which kept them in the game. The biggest issue for the Nets was their rebounding, for the second straight night. Brooklyn was outrebounded 50-31. The Nets’ bench only had 5 rebounds while Houston’s bench had 18. It is hard to win a basketball game if you can’t grab missed shots.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Gerald Wallace: C
Wallace has been invisible recently, and was a little bit more visible tonight, but still did not help. He was very aggressive in the third quarter and ended up scoring 11 points, but those points came in mostly isolations and bad 3-point shots. I don’t know if Wallace should be a starter on this team.
Brook Lopez: C+
Lopez had a good statistical game: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks, but in my opinion, this was one of his worst defensive games of the season. He allowed Omer Asik to get 20 points and 16 rebounds, and many of those points came off wide open dunks. Lopez looked slow tonight and did not defend the pick-and-roll well at all.
Deron Williams: C+
Deron Williams was on fire in the first quarter. He had 20 points on 7-7 shooting in the quarter alone. But he really cooled off after that and finished with only 27 points, meaning he only scored 7 points in the last 3 quarters of the game. Deron did have 11 assists, but he also had 4 turnovers. He was also ejected in the final 2 minutes of the game. I did not like how he played tonight.
Joe Johnson: C
Joe Johnson didn’t show up tonight for the second straight game. He had 13 points on 5-14 shooting and was not aggressive at all. He also was unable to guard James Harden, who finished with 29 points and 7 assists.
Mirza Teletovic: B+
Teletovic provided a spark for the Nets in the third quarter. He deserves to get more playing time than he has been getting. In only 12 minutes tonight, he had 9 points and two 3′s. If I am P.J. Carlesimo, I am making sure to put Teletovic into the rotation more than he has been in the future.
After losing both games of this back-to-back, Brooklyn will return home to face Orlando on Monday. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.