After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Brooklyn Nets recovered in the third quarter to blow out the Charlotte Bobcats 99-78 on the road. The Nets outscored Charlotte 56-25 in the second half which turned a deficit into a rout. Brooklyn was led by their big 3 of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez, who scored 22, 20, and 16 respectively. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 for Charlotte and Ben Gordon added 16 off the bench.
The Nets were sleepwalking throughout the first half of the game. They trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter and their defense did not look good at all. Although they briefly took the lead in the second quarter, Charlotte kept the pressure on and led by 10, 53-43 at halftime. The Nets obviously were not happy with how they played in the first half and destroyed the Bobcats in the third quarter, which is not something we have seen much this season. Brooklyn was making its open shots and not giving the Bobcats many easy looks. The Nets won the quarter 28-9 to take a 9 point lead into the fourth quarter. The Bobcats did not get much closer in the fourth and Joe Johnson nailed a couple of 3′s with about 5 minutes to go to put the game away.
As poorly as the Nets looked in the first half, they played nearly flawless in the second. I don’t care if they are playing the worst team in the NBA; 56-25 is still impressive. Still, the first half exposed some issues with this team. The biggest problem was turnovers. The Nets had 24 of them (!) in the game, which is way too many against the worst defense in the league. However, they made up for that with their rebounding and shooting. They out-rebounded Charlotte 49-29 and shot 51% from the field, 48% from 3, and 82% from the foul line. The Bobcats shot only 38% from the field, 22% from 3 and 66% from the line. That was the biggest difference in the game.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: B+
Reggie did his thing tonight: 6 points and 16 rebounds. He actually made 3 field goals tonight for the first time in a long time and outplayed Bismack Biyombo or anybody else the Bobcats were able to throw at him.
Gerald Wallace: B
Although he was only 1-7 from the field, he was 6-7 from the foul line, had 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 5 blocks. He was again the king of the intangibles and clearly played with a lot of energy in his return to Charlotte, the place where he had his best years. He still isn’t scoring, but the Nets didn’t need that from him tonight.
Brook Lopez: B
Lopez had an extremely efficient night in a game where he did not get many touches. He was 6-7 from the field for 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. It is not really his fault that he was not getting the ball. It is the guards’ faults. They need to involve him more in the offense and set him up in a position to play well.
Deron Williams: A-
Deron was aggressive in the third quarter where the Nets took the game over. Although he did not score 57 points like the last time he played in Charlotte, he finished with 20 and 8 assists while shooting 4-6 from 3. He usually made the right play, whether that was finding the open man or taking an open shot.
Joe Johnson: A-
Joe Johnson definitely looked recovered from his heel injury tonight. He was the game’s leading scorer with 22 points on 8-14 shooting and 5-8 from 3. He was knocking down his open looks, which is all the Nets needed him to do against a bad defense. He did have 6 turnovers and 3 travels in the game though.
The Nets will have tomorrow off and then return to Brooklyn to face a team who has been playing better lately, the Washington Wizards. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.