The Brooklyn Nets finally got over the .500 mark for the first time this season Wednesday night, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-94 at home. The Nets led by as many as 30 points late in the third quarter before a Memphis comeback to make it close late in the fourth quarter. The Nets were led by their guards tonight. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Marcus Thornton each had 16 or more points. Marc Gasol had 18 for Memphis.
For the second straight game, the Nets got off to an unbelievable start at home, leading 21-2. However, the lead would not last. Memphis ended the first quarter on a big run and cut Brooklyn’s lead to as small as 4 points early in the second quarter. The player that saved the Nets was recently acquired shooting guard Marcus Thornton, who was on fire from 3 in the quarter. The third quarter was one of the best of the season as Brooklyn outscored Memphis 33-16, led by Deron Williams and Andray Blatche. The Grizzlies made this a single-digit game in the fourth quarter, but once Jason Kidd sent his starters back out, it was over.
When the Nets were 10-21, who would have thought that the Nets would win 30 games before losing 30 games? That is now the reality. At 30-29, the Nets still sit in 6th place in the east, but this is a huge accomplishment after the way this season started. And with 2 very winnable games coming up, the Nets could be 3 games over .500 before we know it.
Player grades and notes:
Mason Plumlee: B
Plumlee did a better job defending Gasol than Blatche did tonight. He made a good effort to avoid getting into foul trouble, even though he eventually did pick up 4 fouls in just 15 minutes. But 6 rebounds during that short amount of time is very good for a rookie.
Paul Pierce: A-
Pierce was a big part of the Nets’ opening 21-2 run as he had 10 of those 21 points. That got the team off to a good start. Then, in the third quarter, he appeared to injure his neck, but he returned to the game. Hopefully this won’t be a problem in the future.
Deron Williams: A
People talk about how D-Will’s offense has been improved since the all-star break, but his defense was far more impressive tonight. Offensively, Deron was very good with 16 points and 7 assists, but defensively he couldn’t be better. He had 4 steals in the game and Mike Conley to 0-8 shooting with 6 turnovers.
Joe Johnson: A
Joe had a very efficient game tonight with 21 points on only 13 shots. He was 5-7 from 3, including the dagger in the fourth quarter when Memphis was making its late run. Joe is best as a shooter and post-up offensive player and he did both of those things extremely well tonight.
Marcus Thornton: A
When the Nets were struggling to get anything going offensively in the second quarter, they went to Marcus Thornton and he showed us why. He scored 20 points on 8-13 shooting and 4-5 from 3. He also scored 15 straight Nets points in that second quarter. There is no question he is more valuable to this team than Jason Terry and Reggie Evans ever were this year.
Andray Blatche: A-
‘Dray had a little bit of trouble defensively on Marc Gasol, but offensively he was great. He shook Gasol out of his shoes a couple of times and also had a ridiculous spin move on Nick Calathes with a very fancy finish. Blatche has been good the last 3 or 4 games, and those have all been Nets wins.
The Nets will be back in action Friday night when they head up to Boston. It will be the second and final time the Nets visit the Celtics this season. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.