Friday, February 22, 2013

B'klyn Nets: Flatbush Fails To Claim Share Of Atlantic Division Lead

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN NETS - Houston's James Harden Provided The Insanity At Barclays Center.  Jeremy Lin Did Little.

Nets Fail To Capitalize On Knicks Loss To Toronto Raptors.
Remain One Game Out Of First Place.
Rockets  96
NETS     86

The Nets roster remained in tact, and will move forward as they were.  Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks are still on the team which means Billy King couldn't acquire anyone at the trade deadline to help alleviate Deron Williams' burden, or pain.  The team's overall poor outside shooting went unaddressed as well.  Moving forward, P.J. said Deron Williams will be hobbled by ankle problems the rest of the season.  On Friday night, Joe Johnson was scratched due to an injured heel.

Without Joe Jo on the floor, the Nets shot 49% from the floor in the first half against LINsanity and the visiting Houston Rockets.  After two quarters, Brook Lopez was 7 of 12 with fifteen points.  Deron was 4 of 8, with ten points and four assists.  Only problem, the Rockets shot 58.1% from the field in the first half.  Jeremy Lin had five assists and Chandler Parsons led the Rockets with ten points.  Houston took an eight point, 61-53 lead into the half.

Seven and a half minutes into the third quarter, the Nets tied Houston 64-64.  At 5:38, Brook Lopez tied the game again at 68-68 with a floater in the lane.  With 3:37 left in the third quarter, P.J. called a time out with his team down by a 73-68 margin.  A turnover by Lopez was converted at the other end for a 75-71 Houston lead.  But Lopez came back and dropped a deuce to make it a 75-73 game with 2:00 left.  After Deron Williams lofted a brick, James Harden made it a five point game.  Then Deron heaved another brick, and Harden hit again, making it an 83-75 game.  It was only natural then, James Harden appropriately closed out the quarter hitting one of two shots from the line.  The buzzer sounded with the Rockets holding an 84-75 lead.

A minute into the fourth quarter, the Rockets were up by twelve.  At 10:25, Houston buried their fourteenth three-pointer of the game to cap a 15-0 run.  Houston was 58% from three point land at that point, and shooting 54.7% from within the arch.  Brooklyn's FG% was dropping, and lay at a 43.7% mark.  By 8:10, the Nets had closed within ten points.  Andray Blatche stormed the lane and dunked at 7:54 to make it an eight point game.  He then put up an air ball and came up with a steal.  Brooklyn went on a 9-0 run and closed within 92-87 with 5:00 to go.  At the other end, James Harden pushed the ball hard on Bogans, got a friendly rim, and the foul, to make it a 95-87 game.  Mirza Teletovic nailed a trey from the left corner to get the Nets within three points with 3:37 left.  Teletovic then turned on the ultra-hustle, diving and fighting for a loose ball - and got kicked in the head to boot.  In fact, he was having a fine quarter pulling down defensive rebounds and giving the Nets possessions.  Keith Bogans missed a three point attempt with 2:10 left.  But Houston's Carlos Delfino would knock one down to make it a six point game.  Then Carlos Delfino did it again with another two.  At 0:39, James Harden pushed the stake through Brooklyn's heart.  He buried a three point shot, and got the foul, putting Houston ahead by a 105-96 score.  After he made his free throw, this game ended in a 96-86 final.  The Nets lost by ten.

In the  end, it was James Harden who provided the insanity for Houston; not Jeremy Lin.  Harden finished with twenty two points; fourteen in the second half; and none bigger than his points in the closing two minutes.  Jeremy Lin was limited to nine points, and handed out a team high six assists.  Houston shot 53.2% from the field, and 52.3% from beyond the arch.  They hit 16/30 three pointers.  The Nets only hit 10/30 three point shots for 33.3%, and ended 44% from the field.

Brook Lopez finished with twenty seven points and six rebounds.  Hobbled by both ankles, Deron Williams scored fifteen points and led all players with thirteen assists.  Reggie Evans led all players with thirteen rebounds.  Mirza Teletovic had a nice night off the bench with twelve points and five important rebounds in the fourth quarter.

Friday night offered Brooklyn an opportunity to tie the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division.  Up in Toronto, the Knicks had their troubles.  They lost 100-98 to the Raptors.  Instead, the Nets will end the night the way they started, with no new faces on the roster, and one game behind the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic standings.


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