Another game, another easy win for the Brooklyn Nets, making it 3 wins in a row and 8 wins in 9 games. The Nets blew out the Orlando Magic 101-90 tonight, and it wasn’t that close. The Nets were led by their bench in this game. Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic had 18 and 14 points respectively. Kyle O’Quinn had 15 points off the bench for Orlando.
The Nets looked a little bit sluggish in the first half tonight and only led by 4 at halftime, but really picked things up in the third quarter. Unlike in November and December, the third quarter has become a strength of the team this month, and it definitely was tonight as well. The Nets forced bad shots and turnovers from Orlando, which led to easy baskets for them. They won the quarter 27-14, and the game was essentially over after that.
Brooklyn’s passing was again fantastic tonight. They had 29 assists on 40 made baskets and only 8 turnovers. Those numbers are going to win you a lot of games. The bench was also essential in this win. They scored 52 of the Nets’ 101 points tonight, more than half.
Against a bad team like Orlando at home, the Nets were supposed to win this game and did just that, easily. That is the sign of a good team. If the Nets can just win games like this in the eastern conference, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to grab the 3-seed. They are now only 2 games behind Toronto for the division lead and closing in fast.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: A
KG was able to play on the second night of a back-to-back tonight because of how few minutes the Nets needed from him last night in Manhattan. Tonight, he wasn’t needed much either, but when he did play, he was great. He is finally hitting his jump shots in January, and I mean all of his jump shots. You know the ball is going in before he even catches it. He also rebounded and defended well in this game.
Paul Pierce: A-
Pretty good game from Pierce tonight. He scored when needed and passed when needed. He is a role player on this team, but he fits his role very well right now. He doesn’t force anything and always makes the smart play.
Shaun Livingston: B+
Livingston had his worst half in a while in the first half tonight, but really turned it on in the third quarter, which, non-coincidentally, led to the Nets blowing out Orlando. He finished the game with 8 points and 6 assists, including a huge breakaway dunk in the third quarter. It is becoming more apparent with each game that when Livingston plays well, the Nets play well.
Joe Johnson: A-
Joe did not have nearly the first half that he has had the past handful of games, but he did exactly what was asked of him tonight. He made the smart plays in isolation situations and when he shoots from anywhere you just think it’s going down. He has also been passing the ball extremely well the past couple of games.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron is still finding his place with this team and played most of garbage time in the fourth quarter tonight to boost his stats. He finished with 9 points and 9 assists off the bench. He says he’s fine with coming off the bench, and as long as the Nets keep winning, the bench seems like a fine place for him.
Andray Blatche: A+
Blatche has been on fire the last 2 weeks and tonight was no exception. He was Brooklyn’s leading scorer off the bench with 18 points and 5 rebounds. He took advantage of some fourth quarter matchups, which is where he really put the game away. He even hit a 3 in the fourth after airballing a 3 at the end of the third quarter. There was a whole lot of “Good Blatche” tonight.
Mirza Teletovic: A
Mirza was somehow the Nets’ second leading scorer tonight with 14 points, most of it coming in garbage time. He was 5-10 from the field and 4-8 from 3, which is what the Nets want him to do.
The Nets will now get a well-earned few days off and be back at home on Saturday to face Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.