The Brooklyn Nets had one of their best wins of the season Wednesday night, defeating the Golden State Warriors 102-98 and snapping Golden State’s 10-game winning streak. The Nets have now won 4 in a row themselves for the first time this season. Brooklyn was led by Joe Johnson, who scored 27 points. However, Kevin Garnett was the real difference-maker in the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry had 34 big points for the Warriors, and he did everything he could do to prevent the winning streak from ending.
The Nets got off to an extremely slow start tonight where the Warriors couldn’t miss from 3 in the first quarter. However, when the bench came in in the second quarter, the game got totally turned around. They went from being down by 16 points in the first quarter to being up 7 at halftime, capped by a Mirza Teletovic buzzer beater off the backboard. The third quarter was another bad one for the Nets, who became stagnant offensively and they trailed by 1 heading into the fourth. That is when Kevin Garnett showed up for the first time this season, scoring 11 points in the final quarter while also playing his best defense. Joe Johnson knocked in a couple of free throws to clinch the win.
With this victory, the Nets are now in sole possession of the 8th and final playoff spot in the eastern conference. It’s pretty amazing that despite how bad they’ve played for most of the year, all they needed was a simple 4-game winning streak to be back in the playoff mix. Additionally, they are only 3.5 games behind Toronto for the division lead and homecourt advantage in the first round.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: A
Garnett had his typical invisible game for the first 3 quarters, but boy, did he finally show up in the fourth quarter tonight. The Nets would not have won without him. He did it all, hitting jump shots, drawing fouls, hitting foul shots down the stretch, and forcing turnovers. This is the Kevin Garnett the Nets thought they were getting from Boston.
Paul Pierce: B-
Paul Pierce went scoreless in the second half, but he was a big part of the Nets’ second quarter comeback. He went to the foul line 8 times in the quarter. Still, it would have been nice to see him do a little more offensively in the second half. His defense, though, was very good.
Joe Johnson: A
Joe had his second straight 20+ point game tonight, including plenty of scoring down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He made all of his fourth quarter free throws after starting the game 1-3 from the line. He also shot well from the field and did a great job guarding Andre Iguodala.
Shaun Livingston: A-
After a lull in December, Livingston looks to finally have his legs back now. He had a couple of impressive moves in the paint tonight and had a really nice Dr. J-like dunk. Defensively, he did as much as he could on Stephen Curry, although Curry still had a pretty good offensive game. The Nets definitely need Livingston. The offense is so much better with him on the court.
Andrei Kirilenko: A-
Kirilenko didn’t get to the free throw line as much as he has been doing, but he still played a really good game, especially defensively. He guarded just about every position and made countless hustle plays, including a huge steal in the final minute.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche had his good moments and his bad moments tonight, but overall he finished with 17 points and did a pretty good job on the glass. I still wish his shot selection is better, but this is what we’ve come to expect from Andray Blatche.
The Nets have another big game on Friday night when they host the Miami Heat for the final time this year. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.