BROOKLYN NETS - The Brooks Do Their Part By Opening Road Trip With Win In Detroit. A Knicks Loss In Utah Tonight Creates A Tie For Atlantic Division Lead.
With a series of losses out west, the Knicks set up the Nets to gain a share of first place. But the Brooks couldn't take advantage. How close were they? Oh, right..., P.J. doesn't care. After four days of rest, and three quarters at Barclays Center against the Hawks on Sunday night, the Nets held a 73-71 lead. Prior to Nets tip-off, the Knicks lost earlier in the day to the L.A. Clippers, which brought the Nets within a half-game of the first place Knickerbockers. Then, the fourth quarter rolled around, and the Nets broke out in the same rash that has afflicted them this season every time they get within a half court shot of the Knicks. The Nets lost the fourth quarter 34-20, and the game by a 105-93 score. Sunday's was the latest in a few recent failed opportunities to contest first place.
Brooklyn still started Monday night's game only one back of the leader - not a bad place to be with eighteen games left. But the fear was they might have started their eight game road trip on the wrong foot. Just don't tell that to Deron Williams. By the end of the first quarter in Detroit, Williams had already posted fourteen points. He didn't quite get enough elevation and got blocked on one particular dunk attempt. Otherwise, Deron Williams was a one man wrecking crew, while showing no ill effects from a pair of bad ankles.
Brooklyn took a 59-45 lead into halftime. But that's always been the easy part - building leads. The hard part has been keeping them. This season has been marred by too many late game lapses of - you name it.
By 6:30 left in the third quarter, the Nets were up by twenty. Brooklyn owned a 69-49 lead, despite another Joe Johnson disappearance. To this point, his contribution added up to eight points, two rebounds, and no assists. Brook Lopez had eighteen, and Deron Williams was up to twenty. Crash and Reggie Evans, continuing to start at PF, were combining on just four points. However, Reggie Evans was single-handedly out-rebounding everybody. As play continued, forty-two of the Pistons' fifty-six points came in the paint. It didn't seem to matter. At the close of the third quarter, the Nets owned a convincing 90-59 lead, led by Deron Williams' thirty-one points. Joe Johnson was up to thirteen points.
By this time, the Knicks were still an hour away from tipping off in Utah against the Jazz. Meanwhile, with 9:30 to go in the fourth quarter against Detroit, the Nets were up by thirty points; 94-64. At the 7:00 mark, the Nets broke 100 points. By the 6:00 mark, Coach P.J. emptied the bench sending Blatch, Stackhouse, Teletovic, Brooks, and Watson on the floor.
The final score was 119-82. Deron Williams finished with a game high thirty-one points.
The Nets should feel good about bouncing back and starting what will be a daunting road trip with a win. There was much to feel embarrasment over following Sunday night's let down. Should the team rejoice this win came against what is now a 23-46 Detroit team? No, hardly. But for a change, Monday's win over the Pistons commits the Knicks to a response later in the night. If the Knicks lose tonight in Salt Lake City, the Brooks gotta feel just a little appreciation with their situation moving forward.
It's game time in Salt Lake City!