The Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies both came into this matchup looking to end their losing streaks. Only one team could do it though, and it turned out to be the oh-so-ever doubted Brooklyn Nets.
There is not much to say about the first quarter. Both teams looked like they were fighting to play the worst first 12 minutes in the history of basketball. Tyler Zeller getting benched after picking up three fouls in the first 3:27 pretty much sums it up. Not to mention, all the possessions where Brooklyn just let the shot clock run down until all there was left to do was hoist up a less-than-desirable shot. Yikes.
The second quarter fared a bit better for the Nets, even after losing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 8:16 to go. (Injuries really have not been kind to the Nets this season, eh?) After going down by as much as seven points in this period, Brooklyn rallied back, thanks to the energy from Caris LeVert and Trevor Booker. At halftime, the game was knotted up at 47.
Things really began to pick up for Brooklyn in the second half. Right out of the gate, the Nets had a 10-2 burst, ignited by back-to-back triples in the first minute. (One from Tyler Zeller, followed by one from DeMarre Carroll.) This contrasted the extremely slow, rather dull pace of the first half. The Nets were finally playing as if they were on their own turf, in their own terms.
Booker and DeMarre Carroll kept the score way in the Nets’ favor for the remainder of the period, and Brooklyn held a sizable 79-64 lead at the end of three quarters. The Nets led by as much as 19 points in the third.
Unfortunately, the utopia did not last for long. The Grizzlies regained their composure to open up the fourth, with Ben McLemore and JaMychal Green leading the pack. Four minutes into the fourth, the Nets found their lead trimmed to five points, 82-77.
Brooklyn quickly answered back with five consecutive points of its own, off a pair of Booker free throws and a trey from Joe Harris. No problem for the Nets the rest of the way, as they held control this time around. The streak is over (I am not referring to Ryan Ruocco’s “Who Am I?” win drought, but yes, that ended on Sunday night as well).
DeMarre Carroll Small Forward
24 PTS, 7-12 FG, 4-6 3FG, 6-6 FT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 35 MIN
It never ceases to amaze me how much DeMarre Carroll can bring to this young Nets team at the age of 31. Undoubtedly the player of the game, Junkyard Dog was all over the floor, scoring and hustling. There was an incredible moment in the fourth when he fought to keep the Nets’ possession alive on two rebound attempts. I-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e.
Joe Harris Shooting Guard
13 PTS, 4-10 FG, 4-8 3FG, 1-2 FT, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 37 MIN
Joey Buckets continues to live up to his name, with all of his made field goals being three-pointers. Four of them, as a matter of fact, to go with one made free throw, for 13 points.
Caris LeVert Shooting Guard
9 PTS, 4-9 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL, 1 BLK, 29 MIN
No one can deny Caris LeVert’s struggles all season, but they were minimal on Sunday evening. The sophomore notched a team-high four steals to go along with pretty good shooting.
16 PTS, 6-10 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4-4 FT, 11 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 31 MIN
One word: hustle. That described Trevor Booker tonight. Just look at that stat line.
7 PTS, 3-4 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 5 REB, 20 MIN
Tyler Zeller had a very rough start picking up three fouls not even four minutes into the game. He finally played more valuable minutes, especially in the fourth when things were spiraling out of control for Brooklyn. Not a stretch to say he played a role in the team retaining its composure.