An up-and-down, sloppy affair eventually went Brooklyn’s way after a quick barrage of shots gave them a fourth-quarter lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Brooklyn had their issues in this game, both defending the paint and keeping Minnesota from leaking out in transition, and this one looked like it was going a bad way when the Timberwolves erased a 13-point Nets lead with a flurry of fast-break buckets. But the Nets fired back behind Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston, keeping Kevin Love quiet in the second half and
Was the recipient of a couple rough foul calls, which limited his time in the third quarter as the Timberwolves made a run and took the lead. Even if his numbers din’t pop out at you, the Nets offense stagnates without him, and that’s reflected in the team’s on-off court numbers. His shot was awful (1-9, to be exact), which brings hm down. But everything outside of his shot was on point.
But if only he hit that half-court shot just before the buzzer in the first quarter.
Another great, understated game from Livingston. From blocked shots to tipping the ball off opponents to force turnovers to running the pick-and-roll and getting teammates open shots, Livingston has earned his spot in the starting lineup with a deft combination of smart passes and high-flying dunks.
Hit two big floaters in the paint in the their quarter with the Nets losing their lead and kept firing, hitting his first six shots from inside the paint and putting an exclamation mark on the game with a daggerous three-pointer with 90 seconds left.
For players to succeed doing the little things, someone needs to do the big ones — namely, score — and Pierce did just that. Again. Pierce dropped 16 points in the first quarter after hitting 17 Friday night. It was the first time in Pierce’s career that he’d scored 16 or more points in consecutive first quarters. He also limited Kevin Love — one of the league’s best scorers and rebounders — to an underwhelming night.
His good fortune didn’t last; Pierce picked up his third foul with about a minute left in the second quarter and then his fourth foul just a few minutes into the third. But Pierce re-entered and didn’t foul again, hitting a couple of key free throws and having his second straight efficient offensive night.
Some good moments playing on and off the ball in the first half, notably creating looks with effective pick-and-roll runs, and put down one poster on Gorgui Dieng. He had a few moments inside where he should’ve leapt for a rebound and his foot stuck to the paint like they’d been glued down, but that’s a minor criticism.
Played a better Marcus Thornton than Marcus Thornton did tonight, so that’s something. His two three-pointers in the fourth quarter changed the game.
Shot a lot, got burned in help defense, grabbed a few rebounds I didn’t expect him to get, hit a corner 3 (he’s usually open above the break). His production largely rests on if he’s hitting shots, but despite shooting just 30 percent, he still played a largely average overall game.
Other than one early fun moment backing down J.J. Barea until Barea flopped, scoring right over him, and then staring him down as they ran back down the court, a quiet night from Thornton. He left in the fourth quarter with lower back tightness.
Though his effectiveness has waned in the last few weeks, he hasn’t stopped attacking the rim. It’s a welcome sign for a player whose game is built on energy and verticality.
Was a no-show until a big fourth quarter: hit Ricky Rubio with a beautiful spin move that led to an assist, nabbed a couple of nice steals from a lazy Minnesota offense, made good decisions passing the ball, and hit a fast-break layup to get on the board with 45 seconds left. Worth a minimum multi-year deal, that’s for sure.