The Brooklyn Nets fought hard Saturday night and had a lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Chris Paul proved to be too much for them to handle down the stretch and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 101-95 in LA. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Gerald Wallace each had 15+ points for Brooklyn. Chris Paul had 29 and 11 assists for the Clippers, including 11 points in crunch time.
The Nets played well tonight and held the lead for most of the game, although it was always close. Brooklyn took a 5-point lead into the fourth quarter where this game quickly turned into the Chris Paul show. The Nets offense hit a few bumps and CP3 took advantage of it, hitting long jumpers, difficult layups, and 3’s. He also didn’t miss a foul shot in the fourth quarter to seal the win and prevent a Brooklyn comeback.
With this loss, the Nets fall to 2-1 on the road trip, which is fine. We knew heading in to this game that it would be one of the toughest on the 8-game road trip, along with the Denver game next Friday. The Nets weren’t going to go undefeated on the road trip, but this loss hurts especially because the Knicks defeated the Raptors tonight, expanding their division lead to 2.5 games. Despite that, the Knicks still have the tougher remaining schedule and the Nets are not out of this race quite yet.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: A
We couldn’t ask of anything more from Reggie tonight. He outplayed all-star game starter Blake Griffin and controlled the boards as usual, finishing with 16 rebounds. He also scored 7 points while going an impressive 5-6 from the foul line and surviving a Clipper attempt at hack-a-Reggie. He held Griffin to only 11 points and 7 rebounds. Well done, Reggie.
Gerald Wallace: A
Wallace’s third quarter was by far his best of the season. He hit THREE jump shots in the quarter, including two 3’s. He finished the game with 15 points, though 13 came in the third. Defensively, he was good against Caron Butler and Matt Barnes. He probably should have guarded Chris Paul more often, especially in the fourth quarter, but that is P.J.’s decision.
Brook Lopez: B-
Lopez was again effective on offense, but did not rebound or defend well. He allowed DeAndre Jordan to get 13 points and 12 rebounds, both well above his season averages. Even though Lopez might have been the Nets’ best option down the stretch with Joe Johnson hurting, Deron Williams rarely looked to get him the ball in the final two minutes and instead settled for long 3’s.
Deron Williams: B
Deron did not have a bad game at all, but clearly was outplayed by Chris Paul. Paul seems to have more of a killer instinct than D-Will, and that was clearly on display in this game. In the closing moments, Deron threw a pass away that was returned for a layup and missed a couple of 3’s. Meanwhile, Chris Paul had the game-clinching and-1. Still, Deron finished with 18 points and 9 assists, not shabby at all.
Joe Johnson: C+
After a hot start to the game in the first quarter, Joe was very quiet in the second half. Of course, he did suffer a quad contusion in the first half and did not look the same after that. It is still not known if he will be able to play in the Nets’ next game in Phoenix.
The Nets will play the second half of this back-to-back tomorrow night when they face the last place Phoenix Suns. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.