Coming off of a tough loss in Boston, the Brooklyn Nets responded very well Sunday evening, beating up on the Sacramento Kings, 104-89, in Brooklyn. The Nets opened up a nice lead in the first half before Sacramento tied the game in the third quarter. Then, led by Marcus Thornton, the Nets closed out the game on a nice 3-pointer run. Thornton led the Nets with 27 points off the bench, while Joe Johnson led the starters with 18 points.
Of course, this was a very nice win for the Nets, but it didn’t come without injuries. Paul Pierce suffered another shoulder injury just one minute into the game and did not return. Then, in the third quarter, Andrei Kirilenko twisted his ankle and did not return. It is safe to assume that both players will be doubtful to play tomorrow night in the huge game against Toronto, which is very unfortunate for Brooklyn.
This game was very similar to many Nets home games recently. They jumped out to a huge lead, gave up that lead, and then went on a big run to finish off the game. It is not a good sign that the Nets are blowing these leads, but if they can remain an excellent fourth quarter team, I suppose we have to accept that. The Nets are now 14-2 in their last 16 home games since losing at home to Chicago on Christmas day and they have still lost just 3 games since the all-star break. This team is heading in the right direction with the playoffs just around the corner.
Player grades and notes:
Shaun Livingston: B
Livingston bounced back nicely tonight after a rough game on Friday against Toronto, scoring 10 points, along with 4 assists. He made the smart plays at the right times and he was also good defensively when he was matched up with Rudy Gay.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron wasn’t spectacular tonight, but his defense was very good on Isaiah Thomas, who shot 3-14, and offensively, he had 7 assists on some really nice passes.
Joe Johnson: B+
Joe had a very good game tonight, hitting most of his open shots and also making the right passes. Through the first 2 1/2 quarters (until Thornton caught fire), Johnson was the best offensive player for the Nets.
Mirza Teletovic: A-
Mirza had a much-needed good game tonight which will hopefully snap him out of his slump. He scored 9 points on 4-7 shooting, including some nice moves near the basket, to go along with 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. The Nets need Teletovic to play well in his limited minutes, and he did that tonight.
Marcus Thornton: A+
Obviously, Thornton was the player of the game for the Nets against his former team. In 28 minutes, Thornton scored 27 points on 11-15 shooting from the field and 5-8 from 3. He took what was a close game and turned it into a blowout in the late third and early fourth quarter. He is a very streaky shooter, but the streak was going well in this game. He has to feel good about doing this against his former team.
Jason Collins: B+
Collins didn’t do much offensively, but he was able to guard DeMarcus Cousins much better than Blatche or Plumlee was able to. He didn’t let Cousins catch the ball where he wanted, and he boxed out Cousins to avoid offensive rebounds. On the other hand, Blatche’s defense on Cousins was just awful. The Nets picked up Collins to guard players like Cousins, and he showed why that was a smart pickup tonight.
The Nets will be back in action tomorrow night in a very important home game against the division leading Toronto Raptors. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.