The Brooklyn Nets snapped their short 2-game losing streak Tuesday night, defeating the New Orleans Hornets 101-97 on the road. The Nets jumped out to a 22-point lead in the first half and the Hornets cut the lead to as small as 2 points in the fourth quarter, but Brooklyn had just enough to win. Without Joe Johnson for the third straight game, Deron Williams stepped up to lead the Nets with 33 points and 8 assists. Brook Lopez also had 20 points and 4 blocks. Grevis Vasquez scored 20 for New Orleans, while Brook’s brother Robin had 14.
The Nets’ offense was beautiful in the first half, especially in the first quarter. They were moving the ball around, getting good looks, and making their shots. Even in the second quarter when the starters went to the bench, Andray Blatche and Marshon Brooks continued to expand the lead to over 20 points and Brooklyn led by 16 at halftime. As we have seen from this team in the past, the Nets let things slip away a bit in the third quarter mostly due to sloppy play and their lead was cut to just 8 heading into the fourth. Although the Hornets were always within striking distance of Brooklyn, they never were able to tie the game or take the lead. Clutch foul shooting by Deron Williams iced the game at the end.
Although this eventually turned into a close game, the Hornets were never really in it and we never got a feeling that the Nets were going to find a way to blow this one against a bad team. Brooklyn shot the ball very well tonight. They were 49% from the field, 60% from 3, and 83% from the foul line. They still only have 2 losses this season against sub-.500 teams and this was their first win against a southwest division opponent. They had been 0-6, but all those games were against the playoff teams in the division.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Gerald Wallace: B+
He was more effective tonight than he has been recently. He was 2-4 from 3 and played some good defense on Eric Gordon. He also had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. If Wallace can do this every night, the Nets won’t mind paying him $10 million a year.
Brook Lopez: A
Although Robin did not play badly, Brook had a pretty outstanding game and definitely won the battle of the Lopez’s. He had 20 points and 7 rebounds on 9-14 shooting from the field. In addition, he also had 5 assists and 4 blocks, along with changing many more shots. Lopez was worth his max contract tonight.
Deron Williams: A
Without Joe Johnson, Deron Williams stepped up tonight. He started off the first quarter very hot and had 14 points in the quarter. Although he was quieter in the second and third quarters, he returned in the fourth to hit a huge 3 along with a midrange jumper. Then, he went 6-6 from the foul line down the stretch to close out the win. The Nets were playing without their closer, so Deron stepped up and filled that role tonight. He finished the game with 33 points and 8 assists, a vintage performance.
C.J. Watson: B
Watson didn’t play nearly as well as he has since Joe Johnson’s injury, but he still scored 10 points and hit two 3′s tonight. He wasn’t as involved as he has been, but the Nets didn’t need him to be in this game.
Marshon Brooks: B
Marshon played a lot of minutes again tonight, 23 in total in the absence of Joe Johnson. He had 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. As usual, Marshon made some really nice plays and also had some head-scratching turnovers and bad shots. He made a very long desperation 3 in the first half.
Keith Bogans: A+
Bogans was on fire in the second half tonight. He finished the game shooting 4-4 from the field, 3-3 from 3 and 1-1 from the foul line for 12 points. He also had some important rebounds in the fourth quarter. He did everything the Nets want him to do and more.
The Nets will now have a couple of days off and return to Brooklyn to face the Dallas Mavericks for the first time this season on Friday. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.