Brook-Lin was in full effect tonight! The Brooklyn Nets came out of the gates on fire tonight scoring 29 in the first ten minutes and looked as if they were on pace for yet another 120+ point effort, this time against the Atlanta Hawks. But things went sour for both teams as play went on, both suffered a massive cold streak. The two franchises combined for two field goals in the following eight minutes and the game slowed down considerably.
The Nets’ bench really struggled in this game after one of their strongest performances of the season. They were forcing shots early on and it didn’t get much better as the game progressed, not even for the red-hot Sean Kilpatrick or Trevor Booker, both of whom carried the Nets last night against the Orlando Magic. Thankfully, the starters — particularly Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez — put the game on their back and carried the Nets to a victory over an aspiring playoff team.
While the Hawks have been slumping towards the season’s end, they’re still an incredible talent for the Nets to take down twice in a one-week span. Kenny Atkinson will be happy to defeat his former team for the second time this season, setting the Nets on a 9-10 record since March 1st.
It’s a slow march to respectability, but, dammit, the Nets are making it happen.
The Nets are now on their second win streak of the season but hopefully, this one lasts more than two games.
Brook Lopez Center
29 points, 12-21 FG, 3-7 3PT, 5 AST, 5 REB, 2 STL, 5 BLK
29-year-old Brook Lopez is the ultimate form of Brook Lopez.
Brook could do no wrong today: three-pointers, flip shots, playmaking, elite rim protection — you name it, he did it. The Nets were really struggling in this game with him off the court as the bench wasn’t living up to this season’s production. There was a stretch in the third quarter where it looked like every shot the Hawks put up, Brook was sending it back with authority. Lopez took it upon himself to shoulder the load on both sides of the court, and looked just about as unstoppable as a player can look for most of this game.
Jeremy Lin Point Guard
15 PTS, 5-10 FG, 2-4 3PT, 6 AST, 6 REB
Jeremy Lin did his damage in spurts in this one. He scored Brooklyn’s first eight points and looked like he was in for a big-time performance. He was aggressive in the fourth quarter and got himself to the line and set the tone late in the game. As time went on, he went under the radar but was still distributing the ball and finding a way to impact the game without necessarily scoring.
Isaiah Whitehead Point Guard
6 PTS, 2-4 FG, 4 REB, 2 AST
Isaiah Whitehead brought some much-needed energy to a Nets’ second unit that was really lacking in that area. He jolted the team with momentum plays that helped the Nets survive through a tough stretch. Some of the plays included hustling for a ball going out of bounds after suffering an ankle injury and a contested tip-in as time expired going into the half.
The Nets needed a jump start in the second quarter and Whitehead brought it hard.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Small Forward
11 PTS, 4-8 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 1 BLK
The Nets had one of their best defensive performances of the season and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a big part in that. He helped defend the paint alongside Brook Lopez and denied any entry into the post with his active hands. He also had his shot going with two three-pointers and a turnaround jump shot in the post.
Overall, it was a very solid performance from RHJ.
Trevor Booker Power Forward
7 PTS, 3-9 FG, 1-4 3PT, 7 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL
Trevor Booker wasn’t quite as dominant as he was yesterday but he made big plays when it mattered. He had the game-sealing dunk off of a sneaky screen and came up with some big offensive rebounds when the Hawks were going on their inevitable late game run.
Tonight wasn’t as pretty from Booker, but he did the dirty work and it may have saved the Nets’ winning efforts.