The Brooklyn Nets trailed by as many as 27 points in the second quarter tonight at home against the Los Angeles Lakers, but rallied back to lose by just 5, 99-94. The Nets actually tied the game at 92, but didn’t have quite enough left to take the lead. Joe Johnson was Brooklyn’s leading scorer with 18 points, but Mirza Teletovic was their best player with 17 off the bench. Nick Young scored 26 off the bench for L.A.
This game shows that the Nets have made some improvements over how they were playing earlier in the year, but they still have a long way to go. Obviously, you don’t want to lose to the Lakers at home when Kobe Bryant isn’t playing, but coming back from being down by 27 points is still pretty impressive. Remember, when the Nets were down by 27 last week in Minnesota, they just gave up. Hopefully, once the team gets healthy again, and it appears that that is pretty close to happening, they will be one of the better teams in the weak eastern conference.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: C+
KG only scored 4 points, but his defense on Pau Gasol in the fourth quarter helped the Nets come back in the game. He is still struggling to find his jump shot.
Paul Pierce: C-
Pierce was 4-17 from the field, including missing a pretty wide open 3-pointer that would have tied the game. He got a lot of open shots tonight and really did not make many of them.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche definitely left his mark on this game as he does in nearly every game. He even made some surprisingly excellent passes tonight to find open teammates. In the third quarter, he appeared to injure his ankle and did not play in the fourth quarter. This could have been because of Mirza’s rise or because of the injury. The Nets can’t afford to be without him with all the other injuries they have.
Joe Johnson: C
Joe had one of his worst shooting games of the season, going 6-19. Like Pierce, he missed a lot of open shots. It’s really a shame those two played so badly tonight because this could have been an easy win if they had played better.
Mirza Teletovic: A+
No doubt, this was the best game of Mirza’s NBA career. He scored 17 points, including four 3′s, and also had 5 rebounds. He was the spark that started the Nets’ comeback. This is the first real chance he has gotten to play and Jason Kidd has to like what he has seen. Even when the Nets are healthy, I expect him to get some playing time after what we have seen the last couple of games.
Alan Anderson: B-
Anderson played a ton of minutes, 35, tonight, and had a pretty average game, scoring 14 points.
Mason Plumlee: A
Plumlee has done exactly what the Nets have asked of him this season and did that again tonight. He’s not a great offensive player yet, but he can still dunk and is extremely athletic. He also had 4 blocks tonight, including blocking some jump shots.
The Nets will hit the road for a quick two-game road trip in Houston and Memphis on Friday and Saturday night. FRWD will have full coverage of both games.