The Nets had plenty to joke around about on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Nets had plenty to joke around about on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

 

Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivites:

What happened: The Nets thoroughly obliterated a Denver Nuggets team that is a shell of its healthy self, setting the tone early by going up 29-8 after the first quarter and never letting it get closer than 20 points in atypical Nets fashion. The Nets won the second game of a back-to-back on the road, one night after getting spanked by the Portland Trail Blazers without LaMarcus Aldridge and Thomas Robinson and indicating total embarrassment to reporters after the game.

You could tell Brooklyn's intensity was at its peak, and it was clear Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had no designs of losing this game. The Nets went on to pick up their first win in Denver since Jan. 2007.

Where they stand: The Nets are now 27-29, once again squarely facing that two-games-under-.500 plateau that has plagued them for the last few weeks. They're now 6th in the Eastern Conference, a half game ahead of Charlotte and two games behind Washington, which has won its last five including a triple-overtime thriller over Toronto Thursday.

The stats: The Nets somehow ended up shooting only 47.6 percent, but they held Denver to 37.5 percent and 6-of-22 from deep. The Nuggets had 30 made field goals and 24 turnovers. That race was close for most of the game.

Pierce led the Nets with 18 points. Everyone on the Nets' active roster scored. Yes, that includes Jason Collins, who had 3 points.

If I were a blowhard, I'd say the only important statistic is 1-0, the Nets' record in this game.

Fast breaking the Fast Breakers: 

Vintage Pierce: Pierce only had to play 22 minutes, but he was at his peak. He nailed threes from the top of the key and whirled into icy turnaround jumpers at the elbows. The Nets need this Pierce for the balance of the season in order to compete.

Joe Johnson still might not be healthy: Johnson sat out a game at the beginning of February as a result of knee tendinitis. The way he's moving and shooting, it appears to me that his knee is still barking at him. Johnson's not one to complain, and he never made an excuse last year when he bravely battled plantar fasciitis in the first-round series against the Bulls. But it might be best for the team if Johnson takes some time off now rather than soldiering through it. Given Kidd's hyper-conservative tendencies with injury and rest with the rest of his roster, I'm not sure why Johnson isn't getting the same opportunity to heal.

Kirilenko has been working on his granny shot:

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I defy you to show me a more Kirilenko shot than that.

Shaun Livingston, doing things: He did things. Nothing worthy of a GIF or video. But he was there. Stuff got done by him. He finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and more than zero stuffs done.

The Alan Anderson/Marcus Thornton Experiment: Alan Anderson didn't play in the first three quarters of this game, and that was notable because he has played in every single game this season for the Nets. He's not shooting well (he's under 40 percent from the field this season and his three-point stroke has been ice cold in February). But I don't think his three-quarter DNP is necessarily a harbinger for things to come. This game was a good excuse to get Marcus Thornton some extended minutes and see what he could do with his new teammates. I doubt Kidd has made a decision either way as to which of them will get the bulk of the backup guard minutes down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs.

Andray Blatche wants nothing to do with your piggy-back rides:

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Andray Blatche was really good in this game, though: This was a quintessential #TheBestOfBlatche game. Granted, he wasn't wildly inconsistent and unpredictable, but he did all the good Blatche stuff with none of the dumpster-fire Blatche stuff. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals in 18 minutes. And he drained a three from the wing.

JASON COLLINS HITS A LONG 2:

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Go back to Germany, Dirk. Your services are no longer required. Jason Collins got this.

 

Mike Miller, Andray Blatche

The Nets may welcome back Andray Blatche (center), Joe Johnson, and Andrei Kirilenko Thursday. (AP)

The Nets may have something close to a full roster -- without Brook Lopez, of course -- when they face the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

Guard Joe Johnson, forward Andrei Kirilenko, and center Andray Blatche all did physical work with the team in today's practice, getting through without any injuries, according to reports from team practice.

Kirilenko had missed three straight games after reporting to the team with a sore left calf on Wednesday. He told The Brooklyn Game last week that the calf injury had no connection whatsoever to the back spasms he'd felt earlier in the year, and that his back felt "perfect."

Blatche bruised his hip in the first half of the team's 120-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday, attempting to return to the game to no avail. He traveled with the team to Indiana Saturday in the hopes of playing, but sat out both Saturday and Monday to rest the hip. Blatche also sat out four games earlier this week after getting sent home for "personal reasons."

Johnson sat out to rest with left knee tendinitis in the team's 108-102 victory over the 76ers, the second game he's missed all year. According to coach Jason Kidd, Johnson had dealt with tendinitis for a couple of weeks, but is "one not to complain" and tried to play through the pain.

 

Chris Andersen, Andrei Kirilenko

AP/Frank Franklin III

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For brief moments, youthful exuberance bursts from Andrei Kirilenko.... MORE →

 

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Iman Shumpert, Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson (AP)

Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson and forward Andrei Kirilenko will sit out against the Philadelphia 76ers Monday, coach Jason Kidd announced before the game.

Johnson, who was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a reserve has dealt with right knee tendinitis for some time, according to Kidd, but hasn't let it keep him out until now. "Joe's one not to complain," he added.

Kidd classified the game as a "night off" for Johnson, but they'll re-evaluate his status Tuesday. The Nets have two days off before their next game, at home Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs.



Kirilenko first nursed his sore calf on Wednesday's practice, and has not participated in games or physical drills since. The Nets are 12-5 when Kirilenko plays, and 8-20 when he sits.

Andray Blatche was listed as questionable with a bruised right hip, and is still a game-time decision. He was warming up on the court before Kidd spoke to the media, normally a good sign.

 

Andrei Kirilenko, LeBron James

Andrei Kirilenko is one of the league's smartest defenders. (AP)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- In a season of uncertainty for the Brooklyn Nets, there's been one constant: the team wins when Andrei Kirilenko's around.... MORE →

 

This week, Andrei Kirilenko sat down with The Brooklyn Game to discuss his defensive strategies in a variety of situations and against some of the league's best scorers. The full piece will go up in a few days, but with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder looming Friday, I wanted to post a brief preview of Kirilenko breaking down his strategies when defending Kevin Durant.

In particular, I'd noticed that Kirilenko fronted Durant more often than most other players, and I was curious about the strategy. Kirilenko is questionable to play Friday with a strained calf.

Listen to his answer above, or if you're not able to watch a video right now, read the transcript below.
... MORE →

 

Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets signed Andrei Kirilenko partially because of his ability to guard long wing players like Oklahoma City Thunder forward and MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant. But after suffering a calf injury, Kirilenko may not get the chance.

Kirilenko did not practice for the second straight day after injuring the calf, and he's officially listed as questionable for Friday night's game against the Thunder.

"It's just a little bothering me, but I don't know," Kirilenko said yesterday. "Tomorrow we'll see. Usually it takes a couple of days to feel it."

Kirilenko also said that the injury had no connection to his back problems from earlier in the season. "Just started feeling a little pressure."

 

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Three straight wins. No ties. (AP)

Three straight wins. No ties. (AP)

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Here's another look at last night's Nets going Nets.
... MORE →