The Brooklyn Nets were very impressive for the second straight night, defeating the Boston Celtics on the road, 101-93, and it wasn’t even that close. The Nets were leading from the mid-second quarter on and blew the game open in the fourth quarter. The Nets got an extremely balanced effort from their big 3 of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson, who scored 29, 21, and 20 points respectively. Paul Pierce had 23 for the Celtics in a losing effort.
The first quarter tonight was an ugly one with lots of missed shots and turnovers, but the Nets took a 1-point lead after 1. The Nets played very well in the second quarter, led by Deron Williams, who scored 11 points in the period. The Nets closed the quarter on a 14-4 run to lead by 10 heading into the second half. The third quarter was very competitive and close, with each team scoring 26 points. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez all had good quarters. In the fourth, the bench preserved and grew Brooklyn’s lead in the first 4 or 5 minutes of the quarter, and then the starters returned to put the game away. Deron Williams was especially impressive in the quarter and the Nets led by as many as 17 points.
The Nets played a pretty perfect game tonight, and not many NBA teams could beat them when they play like this. They shot very well tonight: 8-19 from 3 and 25-28 from the foul line, with Reggie Evans guilty of each miss. The Nets were also very good defensively. Although they allowed Paul Pierce to knock down some shots in this game, they really did a good job at limiting everybody else.
With this win, the Nets are 3.5 games ahead of both Atlanta and Chicago for the 4-seed and still 3 games behind Indiana for the 3-seed. It is extremely unlikely that Brooklyn will finish in any place other than 4th. The question for them is who they will play in the first round: Chicago or Atlanta?
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: A-
Reggie did not have the offensive game that he has been putting together recently, but he continued his great rebounding and defense with 14 rebounds and holding Jeff Green and Brandon Bass to just 21 points combined. Reggie was just 1-4 from the foul line and did not take a single field goal attempt in the game.
Brook Lopez: A
Lopez played very well again tonight and outplayed Kevin Garnett with his 21 points and 2 blocks. He scored exactly when he needed to and did not take any bad shots. He did not miss a free throw and although he only had 4 rebounds, they were some pretty good ones.
Deron Williams: A+
Deron Williams had another superb, perfect game tonight. He had 29 points, 12 assists, 4 rebounds, and only 1 turnover while shooting 50% from the field. This is the Deron the Nets signed to a 5-year contract. He is arguably the best point guard in the entire league right now and no Celtic was able to guard him.
Joe Johnson: A-
Joe had his first good game in a while, dropping 20 points while hitting four 3′s. He looked healthy for the first time in a while, which is great news for Nets fans.
Jerry Stackhouse: B
Jerry Stackhouse started the second half for the Nets after Gerald Wallace was injured in the second quarter. Stack finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. He had some great passes to Kris Humphries in the fourth quarter to preserve the Nets’ lead. It would be great to see Stackhouse make an impact on this team in the playoffs.
The Nets will have tomorrow off and then continue their final road trip of the regular season on Friday in Indiana. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.