The Brooklyn Nets did not make it look easy, but they got the much-needed over the Utah Jazz Wednesday night, 105-99, to start their big road trip off on a nice note. The Nets struggled for most of the first half defensively, but played much better in the second half. Brooklyn was led by Joe Johnson’s 27 points and 6 assists. Andray Blatche scored 25 off the bench. Deron Williams picked up his first win in Utah as a member of the Nets. Alec Burks scored 23 for Utah.
The Nets needed this win to get the road started off right, especially with so many back-to-backs coming up. They got the win by playing smart and sticking to their game plan. They shot 50% from the field and only had 6 turnovers. That’s going to win you a whole lot of games in the NBA. They still struggled rebounding, but hopefully that will improve tomorrow if they can make a trade for Jordan Hill or another big man.
The Nets are now tied for fifth place in the east after the win. They are closing in on home court advantage in the first round, which is pretty unbelievable considering how bad the season began.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: B
KG played good defense in limited minutes tonight and was much better than Blatche defensively. However, he only played 17 minutes tonight despite having not played at all the last 6 days and not playing again until Saturday. I thought Jason Kidd should have reinserted him into the game late with the Nets leading.
Shaun Livingston: A-
Livingston had a pretty quiet first half, but was a big part of Brooklyn’s comeback in the second half. He had two fantastic passes, one to Kevin Garnett and one to Joe Johnson for a wide open 3. He also had a big dunk in the first half. Livingston continues to be the best point guard on this team.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron got off to a good start tonight, but really struggled for most of the rest of the game. He had “injuries” 2 or 3 times where he was lying on the floor in pain but stayed in the game. These seem to happen every game and I’m pretty tired of watching them. He finished with 17 points but shot only 6-15. He made a couple of clutch shots late in the fourth quarter, but overall this was not a great game for him. At least he got his first ever road win in Utah as a visitor.
Joe Johnson: A
Joe had his best game in a long time, finishing with 27 points and shooting 10-16 from the field. He also had 6 assists, including some beautiful passes to Andray Blatche in the first half. Joe definitely looks healthier now than he did before the all-star break. Hopefully he starts another hot streak on this road trip.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche got off to a slow start, but once he started attacking the rim, he had a pretty good game. All of his jump shots were off tonight, but he had plenty of dunks and layups, which allowed him to score 25 points. He still needs to do a better job on the defensive boards. 4 defensive rebounds in 31 minutes is not going to cut it.
Despite being on a road trip, the Nets will not play again until Saturday night, when they will be in Oakland to face the Golden State Warriors. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.