The Brooklyn Nets got easily their best win of the season Thursday night, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second straight year on the road on a Joe Johnson buzzer beater as time expired. The Nets won the game 97-95 after a huge fourth quarter comeback. They trailed by double-digits at the start of the fourth and needed a huge comeback to win. Deron Williams was a big part of the comeback and had the best game of his season for the Nets with 29 points and six 3’s. Kevin Durant only scored 24 for OKC. The Nets defended him well.
After a good first quarter tonight, the Nets looked pretty helpless in the second quarter, where they got outscored 33-15. However, unlike in previous games, the Nets did not just fade away in the third quarter. They hung around and kept the game interesting, setting themselves up for the final second of the third, where Paul Pierce hit a jumper and Deron Williams stole the inbounds pass and hit a 3 at the buzzer. This propelled the Nets into the fourth quarter, where they made a run after Kevin Durant picked up his fifth foul. The Nets took their first lead on a Deron Williams transition 3, but Oklahoma City eventually tied the game back up. The Nets had the ball with 5.8 seconds left and went to their clutch man, Joe Johnson, who hit a buzzer beater from the top of the key to give the Nets a much needed win.
This is just one game, but this is a huge win for the Brooklyn Nets. This was their best win of the year, and it comes on the road. It also salvaged a very tough road trip. This shows that the Nets have the talent to compete with the top teams in the league. Hopefully this will propel the Nets into a better 2014.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: C-
Garnett again didn’t do much tonight. He had one big basket in the fourth but also missed an easy shot that would have put the game away. At least he finally was playing meaningful 4th quarter minutes tonight.
Paul Pierce: B-
Pierce was pretty awful until the 4th quarter where he really heated up. He showed some heart tonight and hit some big shots. Still, he was only 6-18 in the game and didn’t defend well in the first half, but he was a big part of the Nets’ crunch time run.
Shaun Livingston: C-
Livingston got the start tonight for Mirza in favor of a matchup but didn’t do very much, shooting only 1-7 from the field for only 5 points. He also took some way too long shots in this game for some reason.
Deron Williams: A
Best all around game of the year for Deron and that’s the reason why they won. He had 29 points on 10-17 from the field and 6-9 from 3. He had a 3 late in the fourth to give the Nets their first second half lead and was the best player from start to finish. He also had 5 steals on defense, something that is rare for him to do. He only had 4 assists, but that’s not what the Nets needed from him tonight.
Joe Johnson: A+
Joe had a pretty awful game and didn’t do much at all, but he hit the buzzer beater, so we’ll obviously take that. He was uninvolved all night and was cold when he did shoot, but he just is so clutch that it didn’t matter.
Andrei Kirilenko: A-
I was really impressed with Kirilenko in his second game back. In only 15 minutes, he scored 9 points on 3-3 shooting and also got to the line 4 times. He could move into the starting lineup soon if he can play longer than 15 minutes.
The Nets return home after their tough road trip on Saturday to face the shorthanded Cavaliers. FRWD will have coverage of the game.