The Brooklyn Nets continued their winning ways Thursday night, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 102-93 on TNT. Despite this win, the big story could be Brook Lopez, who suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter. We do not yet know how much time he will miss if he misses any time at all. Andray Blatche led the Nets off the bench with 21 points and 9 rebounds. He was great in the second and third quarters. Joe Johnson also scored 21 for Brooklyn. For the Clippers, Chris Paul had 20 points, but only 2 assists, which shows that the Nets played pretty good defense on him.
The Nets got off to a slow start tonight and trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter, but then played great in the second and third quarters to blow out the Clippers. The comeback was led by Andray Blatche at the start of the second quarter and then finished by Deron Williams at the end of the quarter to give the Nets a 12-point lead at halftime. The third quarter was the Andray Blatche show. He hit ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot to crush Los Angeles’s spirit. The Nets led by over 20 after 3 quarters and the game was never close in the 4th.
Probably the biggest number from this game was the difference in free throw percentage. The Nets shot 93% at 28-30, while the Clippers shot just 67% at 35-52. The Nets also shot much better from the field and from 3 than the Clippers.
Now, the Nets just have to wait to see how serious Brook Lopez’s injury really is. This is really a shame because it seemed like the team was finally getting on a roll and this injury could prevent them from developing chemistry.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: C
Garnett only played 15 minutes partly because of foul trouble and partly because the Nets had a big lead in the 4th quarter and didn’t need him. He brought nothing again offensively, but he did a good job rebounding and even defending Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. 6 rebounds in 15 minutes is a good amount.
Brook Lopez: B+
Lopez was pretty good before his injury tonight even though his shot wasn’t falling in the first half on offense. He even did a pretty good job rebounding. However, the story in this game is going to be that injury. If Lopez misses a significant amount of time, the Nets may seriously be in jeopardy of ever developing their much-needed chemistry.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron played well against Chris Paul tonight, who is probably the league’s best point guard. The Nets really appreciated his offensive run at the end of the first half to give them a 12-point halftime lead. He did not play very much in the second half, but the Nets barely needed him with Andray Blatche doing his Blatche things.
Joe Johnson: A
Nothing more you can ask for from Joe. He was extremely efficient tonight, going 8-13 from the field and 4-7 from 3. He hit nearly all of his open shots and the Nets used his shooting at the beginning of the third quarter to retain their lead. This was especially good to see after Johnson barely did anything with the Nets healthy on Tuesday.
Paul Pierce: B
He didn’t shoot very well, but Pierce still finished with 7 rebounds and 5 assists off the bench. He played a little bit of point guard with Deron Williams out of the game. Alan Anderson only scored 3 points tonight, and those came in 4th quarter garbage time. There’s no question in my opinion that Pierce should start with Anderson being a 3-point spark off the bench.
Andray Blatche: A+
Best Blatche game of the season tonight. It was only good Blatche. He finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists, and plenty of third quarter highlights. He also sparked the Nets’ comeback in the second quarter while being defended by Ryan Hollins. Clearly the MVP of this game.
The Nets have a quick turnaround and will be in Detroit for a game with the Pistons tomorrow night in an eastern conference “showdown”. It will be interesting to see if Brook Lopez plays in that game.
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