The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 97-88 behind strong performances from Joe Johnson Andray Blatche, and Brook Lopez, and clutch baskets by Mirza Teletovic and Kevin Garnett. Both teams were shorthanded for this game as Marc Gasol (left knee) and Zach Randolph (ingrown toenail) did not play for Memphis and for Brooklyn, Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry, and Paul Pierce did not play. This was Brooklyn’s first victory that did not come down to the wire since their fourth game of the season against the Utah Jazz.
Both teams started the game very poorly on offense, but the Nets were the first to right the ship late in the first quarter. Joe Johnson led the Nets through the first half and Andray Blatche made a number of impressive contributions off the bench. Johnson almost played throughout the entire game (41 minutes) and was a steady force, finishing with 26 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. In just 21 minutes of playing time, Blatche scored 21 points on 7-10 shooting, and added 8 rebounds. Blatche surprised Nets fans with a beautiful fast-break alley-oop pass to Mason Plumlee and by going 3 for 3 from three point territory. Brook Lopez struggled in the first quarter, but more than made up for it by sealing the Nets’ win in the fourth quarter with soft floaters and foul shots. Mirza Teletovic killed the Grizzlies’ big fourth quarter run by scoring 5 consecutive points: a post-up fadeaway and an open three. Kevin Garnett also helped stifle Memphis’ run in the fourth quarter (led by Quincy Pondexter) with pure jump shots.
Coach Jason Kidd decided to start Tyshawn Taylor at point guard tonight instead of Shaun Livingston. Livingston wound up playing 10 minutes more than Taylor, despite coming off the bench. Neither played that well, though Taylor was a -17 while Livingston was a +20 as the Nets played well while Livingston was in the game.
The Nets stretch of 8 road games over 11 games is now over and they will be home more often over the coming weeks. Their next game is at home against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at 7:30 ET.
Joe Johnson: A (Excellent production and efficiency despite playing for longer than usual)
Kevin Garnett: B+ (Had a great fourth quarter on offense and defense)
Brook Lopez: B+ (Slow start, but strong finish)
Alan Anderson: D (0 points in 28 minutes)
Tyshawn Taylor: C (Somewhat disappointing first career start)
Andray Blatche: A (A vintage excellent Blatche game)
Mason Plumlee: C+ (Less production, but was serviceable)
Mirza Teletovic: A- (Scored some big points in the fourth quarter, but also airballed a three)