The Brooklyn Nets broke their franchise record for most home wins in a row Tuesday night, and clinched a playoff berth in the process, by beating the Houston Rockets 105-96. It was the Nets’ 14th straight win in Brooklyn, breaking Jason Kidd’s record of most home wins in a row, which the Nets set in 2002. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 30 big points while Shaun Livingston chipped in with 17. James Harden scored 26 for Houston, who was without Dwight Howard and Omer Asik recorded a career high 23 rebounds.
Even though the Rockets didn’t have Howard and Patrick Beverley, the Nets didn’t have Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Marcus Thornton, and obviously Brook Lopez (who’s birthday was today!), so I don’t think this was a cheap win at all for the Nets. Even though Asik had 23 rebounds, the Nets were only outrebounded by 2 in this game, which is a big reason why they won. It was also a good win because they finally won a game in which the 3-pointers weren’t falling. The Nets shot just 6-25 from 3, but were 53% from the field. This means the Nets attacked the basket for the first time in a while and it worked.
With the win, the Nets have officially clinched a playoff spot and have now won 40 games on the season. Considering they started 10-21, that sure is impressive.
Players grades and notes:
Mason Plumlee: A-
Plumlee had another good performance at home tonight, where he has played much better than he has played on the road. He finished the game with 11 points and 6 rebounds on 5-6 from the field. He only takes good, smart shots on offense, and he also had a steal and a pair of blocks on defense. Even his passing was good tonight. He had 4 assists, including two beauties to Livingston for dunks.
Paul Pierce: B
Pierce didn’t have the explosive first quarter he has had recently, but that was fine tonight. He always made the extra pass, forced Montiejunas into early foul trouble, and did a good job rebounding with 6 in just 23 minutes. Many of these defensive rebounds led to outlet passes for fast break points.
Shaun Livingston: A
Livingston had mismatches all night and took advantage of them most of the time to finish with 17 points on the game. He also guarded Harden for a good amount of time and although Harden scored 26 points, he only made 4 field goals. Livingston picked up 2 fouls on Harden in the first quarter, but didn’t record a foul the rest of the game.
Deron Williams: B
Deron wasn’t spectacular tonight and was 0-5 from 3, but he has really started to fit into the offense much better and is playing pretty good overall. I predict a big game for him offensively tomorrow night, though.
Joe Johnson: A+
Without Pierce scoring, the Nets needed Joe Jesus tonight, and he came through yet again, scoring 30 points on the extremely weak defense of James Harden. Joe got all the looks he wanted, whether it be mid-range, 3’s, floaters, or layups. He even passed when needed, and had a beautiful assist to Mason Plumlee, which was the dagger in the game.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche got off to a shaky start, but played much better in the fourth quarter when he actually attacked the paint. He needs to do much more of this because his jump shots don’t often fall.
The Nets have a quick turnaround against their rivals from Manhattan tomorrow night. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.
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