The Brooklyn Nets hung on to win an unbelievably crazy game Wednesday night to sweep the home-and-home from the Milwaukee Bucks, 97-94. The Nets rode a big fourth quarter led by their bench to take their first lead since the very beginning of the game, and withstood a comeback attempt from Milwaukee at the very end. The Nets were led by their point guards, Deron Williams and C.J. Watson, who combined for 40 points and 14 assists. For Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings continued to be a Nets-killer, netting 31 points and 11 assists, his second straight 30 point game against Brooklyn.
The game started off poorly for the Nets, but finished nicely, the opposite of what we saw last night. In the first half, they were getting very little ball movement and were letting Milwaukee get way too many fast break points. Brooklyn trailed by 12 at halftime. In the third quarter, they began to come back slowly, but still trailed by 8 heading into the fourth, when things really got crazy. The Nets opened the fourth quarter on a big run led by Marshon Brooks and Kris Humphries (of all people) to take their first lead of the game since it was 4-2. Brooklyn played great defense, or Milwaukee missed lots of shots, and the Nets opened the quarter on a 21-5 run to take a sizable lead. With less than 2 minutes remaining, Deron Williams knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Nets an 11-point lead and most people thought the game was over. That was not the case. The Nets had a couple of turnovers, Milwaukee got some breaks, and before we knew it, it was a 4-point game. The teams traded a couple of buckets, but the Nets kept that 4-point lead until there were 15 seconds remaining. Then, Brandon Jennings made a basket and nearly got a steal. Instead, Deron Williams went to the foul line, where he made 1-2 to give the Nets a 3-point lead with under 5 second remaining. Milwaukee called time and inbounded on their end of the floor. Monta Ellis quickly chucked up a 3 with Deron Williams guarding him. Deron was called for a foul on the shot even though replays showed that the two players might not even have made contact. Luckily, the ball doesn’t lie and Ellis missed all 3 free throws to give the Nets a win and a sweep of the home-and-home.
The Nets have now won 4 games in a row and have beaten the Bucks twice in a row after losing their previous 13 games against this team. This was one of the more memorable home-and-homes ever as both games had crazy finishes.
The trade deadline is now only about 15 hours away. We will know by this time tomorrow if the Nets make any significant moves.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Brook Lopez: D+
Lopez struggled throughout the night and played very little in the second half and not at all in the fourth quarter for the second straight night. He shot only 3-13 in the game with only 1 rebound. It was an off night and he will get past it. Luckily, Andray Blatche picked him up nicely.
Deron Williams: B+
Finished the game with 23 points and 8 assists, but had some weird plays in the fourth quarter. He hit what we thought was the dagger to give the Nets an 11 point lead with under 2 minutes remaining, but then he travelled and missed a huge foul shot at the end. His foul on Monta Ellis at the very end was a terrible call.
Joe Johnson: C
After a great game yesterday, Johnson was pretty bad tonight. He shot 3-14 from the field and only had 8 points. He didn’t hit many shots in the fourth quarter, but was the only Nets starter with a positive +/-.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche was huge in the fourth quarter and finished with a double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. He was good defensively until the very end when he let Larry Sanders get behind him a few times.
C.J. Watson: A
Watson was great tonight. Off the bench, he had 17 points, 6 assists, and three 3’s. He also hit what should have been the dagger if not for the Ellis foul. He played for almost the entire fourth quarter and was a big part of the Nets’ comeback.
After this back-to-back with the Bucks, the Nets will have tomorrow off and then return home for a two-game homestand against the Rockets on Friday and the Grizzlies on Sunday. FRWD will have full coverage of those games.