The Brooklyn Nets closed out their longest road trip of the season with a 107-98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night. It was the 6th and final game of the post all-star break road trip, and the Nets finished the road trip a very solid 4-2. The Nets were led by their bench again tonight. Marcus Thornton had his best game as a Net, scoring a game high 25 points while Andray Blatche had a double-double of 19 and 13. Khris Middleton scored 16 for Milwaukee.
This was not a blowout, as some people were anticipating heading into this game, but that should not be surprising as it was the final game of a long road trip. The Nets were leading for almost the entire night, but Milwaukee was often within the 5-10 point range of the Nets. At halftime, the Bucks trailed by just 2. The difference in the second half was the rebounding and 3-point shooting for Brooklyn. Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee came up big on the boards in the third quarter, keeping balls alive for the Nets, while Marcus Thornton hit four 3′s, including a clutch one with about 2 minutes left in the game to seal the win.
The Nets have to be pretty happy with themselves after this road trip. They won all the games that they were supposed to and are now firmly in the 6th spot in the eastern conference and just 2 games behind Washington for 5th. Now that we are into March, the Nets will have a lot of home games coming up and they will need to do well in those games in order to move up and possibly claim home court advantage in the playoffs.
Player grades and notes:
Paul Pierce: B
Pierce had a pretty typical game tonight. He hit a couple of big shots in the third quarter to help the Nets pull away, but he was not overly aggressive in terms of his scoring. His defense was good with 3 steals.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron Williams was hot in the first quarter where he hit three 3′s, but he only had 6 points the rest of the game. The Nets had some very good ball movement tonight, but not much of it came from Deron Williams. Defensively, he was pretty good against Brandon Knight.
Shaun Livingston: B
Livingston had 14 points tonight and almost all of them came on dunks. He did a nice job getting open near the basket where his teammates were able to find him. He continues to be the best point guard on this team.
Marcus Thornton: A
Thornton had a breakout game tonight and had his most points as a Net with 25 in only 23 minutes. He was 8-13 from the field and his 3′s were also falling. As a Jason Terry replacement, he had a better game tonight than Terry previously had as a Net. Because he played so well, Jason Kidd left him in the game in crunch time over Deron Williams.
Andray Blatche: A-
Blatche had his second straight good game with 19 points, and more importantly, 13 rebounds. With Mason Plumlee in foul trouble and Kevin Garnett taking the night off, the Nets needed rebounds from Blatche and they got them. His 6 offensive rebounds were also huge, giving the Nets second chances.
The Nets will finally be back in Brooklyn on Monday night when they host the Chicago Bulls in a very important eastern conference game. FRWD will have full coverage.