Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brooklyn Nets: Pull Within One Game Of First Place

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN NETS - Sweep Home and Home from Bucks.


Like night and day - or in this case, from night to night, or like I said the other day - from quarter to quarter, the Brooklyn Nets were stricken for portions of the game by a bad case of poor shooting percentage, out in cold Milwaukee.  Then like flicking a switch, they turn it on.

Half way through the third quarter, the Nets were behind by ten points.  They were trailing 64-54, and shooting 33% from the floor.  Brook Lopez was only 3/13 shooting.  Deron Williams and C.J Watson were keeping things respectable.  Deron had twelve points and five assists to that point.  And C.J. Watson had eleven points off the bench.  Meanwhile, Milwaukee was launching shots with a 58% rate of success.  The Bucks were out-scoring the Nets in fast break points by a 21-6 margin, and out-scoring Brooklyn 30-16 in the paint.  The Nets were getting out-rebounded, and the Bucks handed out more assists.  For a second consecutive night, Brandon Jennings was leading all scorers.

Brooklyn made a series of defensive stops, and Crash actually scored a pair on transition during a 9-2 Brooklyn run, which closed the Nets gap to five points, in a 66-61 game and 3:40 to play in the third quarter.  At 3:07, Brandon Jennings buried his twenty sixth point of the evening making the score 71-61, and giving Milwaukee a ten point lead again.  From that point, Brandon Jennings would not score again until there were less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter.  The third quarter ended with the Nets behind by a 76-68 score.

At 10:46 of the fourth quarter, Marshon Brooks nailed a big three which brought the Nets within one point.  At the 10:00 mark, Brooklyn enjoyed its first lead; 77-76; since very early in the first quarter.  A pair of Marshon Brooks free throws made the score 79-76 Nets.  The Nets shooting improved to 42% in the second half.  And the Nets started to flex themselves on the defensive boards.  By the seven minute mark, the Nets were up to 52% shooting from the floor.

After Milwaukee tied the game at 81-81 all, Kieth Bogans nailed a huge three-pointer at the 5:40 mark.  Kris Humphries soon followed with a mid-range jumper, drew a foul, and converted the three point play to put Brooklyn ahead by an 87-81 score.  The Nets had played the previous three and a half minutes with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez on the bench.  And speaking of the bench, by the 2:50 mark of the fourth quarter, they had amassed forty five on their forty seven points of the night.  As Brooklyn kept up their defensive rebounding, Andray Blatche Blatche was busy putting the Nets ahead by an 89-81 mark.

Deron returned to the floor and hit a trey at the 1:50 mark, making the score 94-83 Nets.  A couple of turnovers and lapses in defense made P.J. Carlesimo call for a time out.  With 0:32 seconds left, the Nets were still clinging to a 94-92 lead.  C.J. Watson drove the lane with 15.5 seconds left and scored two huge points for a 96-92 lead.

With 4.4 seconds left, the Nets nearly blew an in-bounds pass to Deron Williams.  The Nets maintained possession, and with 3.4 seconds left, Milwaukee fouled and sent Williams to the line.  But Deron only made one of two free throws, leaving the door open for the Bucks in what was then a 97-94 game.  Incredulously, Deron Williams was called for a questionable foul on a three point attempt.  But Milwaukee's Monta Ellis missed all three free throws, and Brooklyn rebounded the last shot to secure a three point win.

In the end, it was Milwaukee's shooters that went cold in the fourth quarter.  At one point, they were 2 of 16 from the field.  The Nets pulled themselves together, and finished shooting an even 40% for the game.  The Nets swept both games of the home and home.

Deron Williams led the Nets with twenty three points and eight assists.  He was 7/16 from the field.  C.J. Watson was big off the bench with seventeen points.  Andray Blatche posted a double-double with twelve points and twelve rebounds.  On the night after toasting the Bucks, not once, but twice, with last second shots, Joe Johnson was limited to eight points on this night.

The Nets are winners of their last four in a row.  They now sport a 33-22 record this season.  The Brooklyn Nets are now just one game behind the Knicks for first place of the Atlantic Division.  The Knicks by the way, got crushed by the Indiana Pacers by a 125-91 score.


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