As the saying goes, a win is a win, but this one was not pretty. Against a Chicago Bulls team without Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah, the Brooklyn Nets rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat Chicago 93-89. Brooklyn was led by Marshon Brooks and Andray Blatche off the bench, who scored 13 and 11 points respectively. Chicago got 18 points from both Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli.
The Nets looked like the far superior team in the first quarter where they outscored Chicago 24-14 led by 7 points from Deron Williams. However, this would be another game where they blow a 10-point lead and Chicago stormed back to take a 1-point lead at halftime. In the third quarter, the Nets shot the ball very well from the field, but continued to miss free throws and turn the ball over and trailed 67-63 heading into the fourth. That was where things got interesting. Marshon Brooks, who has played sparingly this season, opened the quarter with 5 straight points to give the Nets the lead for good. Andray Blatche also had some big-time contributions in the quarter. Although the Nets led by as much as 7, Chicago would not go away and this game was going to come down to the final moments. With the Nets up by 4 and under 20 seconds remaining, Brooklyn threw away an inbounds pass and their lead was cut to 2. Luckily, C.J. Watson was able to knock down a couple of free throws and the Nets got a stop on defense to pull out the win.
This game should not have been this close. The Bulls were a very shorthanded team and had no business competing with the healthy Nets. The fact that they were able to stay in the game is a tribute to Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, who always has this team ready to play, no matter who is in their lineup. Statistically, Brooklyn should have crushed Chicago in this game. They shot 52% from the field and 46% from 3 while Chicago shot only 44% from the field and 7% (1-14) from 3. The Bulls were also killed on the boards. The Nets had 40 rebounds while a small Chicago team only had 29. However, Chicago was able to stay alive due to live-ball turnovers. The Nets had 14 of them and many of those led to Chicago baskets. Also, there was a large foul shooting discrepancy. The Bulls were 20-22 from the foul line while the Nets were only 10-20. If the Nets had been 16-20 (80%), which is close to their season average, they would have won by 10.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: B
Evans did not play much in the second half but was pretty effective in the first half. The Bulls’ plan was clearly not to pay much attention to him, which enabled Reggie to score 8 points, all in the first half. He also had 7 rebounds.
Gerald Wallace: B+
Gerald Wallace had one of his best hustle games in a long time tonight. Although he only scored 6 points, he had a game high 13 rebounds. He was 3-4 from the field tonight, but a terrible 0-4 from the foul line. If nothing else, Wallace played hard tonight and the Nets got the win, so he will be happy.
Brook Lopez: B+
Brook Lopez had a pretty weird game. He was very effective in the first 3 quarters, scoring 20 points, but he did not play a single minute of the fourth quarter in favor of Andray Blatche, who had not played much in the first 3 quarters. The reason for this probably was because Blatche was playing well in the fourth and P.J. did not want to ruin his team’s chemistry.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron had a pretty rough night against 5’9 Nate Robinson. He only had 11 points and 6 assists in 36 minutes. He also appeared to sprain his ankle towards the end of the second quarter, but he came back and finished the game. He will have a couple of days off now if the ankle continues to bother him.
Joe Johnson: B
Joe Johnson had another pretty quiet game finishing with only 13 points. However, he did hit the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer from way downtown with about a minute left. That shot probably won the game for Brooklyn.
Marshon Brooks: B+
Marshon surprisingly had one of his best games of the season tonight. He started the fourth quarter in the game and went on a 5-0 run by himself to give the Nets the lead. He finished the game with 13 points, 3 assists, and 2 turnovers in 21 minutes. He has his great moments and his bad ones. He had some spectacular plays in the fourth quarter but he also had some very unforced turnovers. He still has a lot of work to do to get a serious amount of playing time on this team, but it was nice to see his energy in this game.
Andray Blatche: A-
Blatche was another reason the Nets won this game. He only played 16 minutes, but most of those were in the fourth quarter. He finished with 11 points on 5-7 shooting and had two and-1′s in the fourth. He also had 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Nets picked up a nice victory tonight and will now have a couple of nights off. They will return to Brooklyn to finish off the homestand on Tuesday when they have a showdown against Dwight Howard and the Lakers. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.