The Brooklyn Nets concluded their 3-game homestand with a nice 114-98 victory over the Boston Celtics Friday night. With the win, the Nets have now won 11 straight home games and have still lost just 3 times since the all-star break. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 27 points while Mason Plumlee had 18. Avery Bradley had 28 for Boston.
The Nets had one of their best offensive games of the season tonight. They shot 56% from the field and 53% from 3, while recording 30 assists compared to just 11 turnovers. They even outrebounded Boston 39-37. Defensively, the Nets struggled in the first half and didn’t have an answer for Avery Bradley, but in the second half, they turned up their defense while the offense kept rolling along.
With the win and losses by Chicago and Toronto, the Nets are now just a game behind home court advantage in the first round and 1.5 games behind a division championship. With almost a month left in the regular season, the Nets are still very much in the race for the 3-seed.
Player grades and notes:
Mason Plumlee: A
In only 21 minutes, Plumlee had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, only 2 fouls, and hit all 6 of his free throws. It doesn’t get much better than that. He was very aggressive in the paint and was always looking for dunk and layup tries. This got him to the foul line often, where he didn’t miss tonight. Defensively, he didn’t rebound better than Kris Humphries, but Hump only shot 4-11 from the field. Plumlee is playing extremely well right now.
Paul Pierce: B
The Nets didn’t need much from Pierce tonight, but when he was in, he played pretty well, scoring 14 points on 6-10 shooting. He took rhythm shots in the offense and was always in control. It seems like the Nets have barely needed anything from Pierce lately. That will likely change in the playoffs.
Deron Williams/Shaun Livingston: B+
Neither starting point guard scored much tonight, but they only shot a combined 5 field goal attempts. However, they did combine for 12 assists, including some nice passes to Mason Plumlee at the rim, as well as kickouts to Joe Johnson for open 3′s. It’s pretty impressive when your team scores 115 points and your starting guards combine for 10.
Joe Johnson: A
Joe had a fantastic 3rd quarter tonight which really put the game away. He scored 16 points in the quarter including hitting a bunch of 3′s. He finished the game 6-8 from 3 with 27 points in 30 minutes. The Celtics had answer for him defensively.
Jorge Gutierrez: A
Gutierrez got some big minutes tonight because of the blowout, but also played a little bit in non-garbage time, and played well. His defense on Rondo was very good and he had a career high 10 points. His previous career high was 1. I’m not sure the Nets will have a place for him in their rotation, but it’s surprising that another team hadn’t snatched him up before the Nets got him, because he is better and smarter than a lot of backup guards in this league.
The Nets will now hit the road for a 3-game trip after another successful homestand. They will be in Dallas on Sunday night. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.