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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.
What happened: The Brooklyn Nets won an ugly, emotional affair in Boston, defeating the Boston Celtics, 85-79.
Where they stand: The Nets are now 20-22 after a red-hot 10-1 start to the new year, 0.5 games behind the Washington Wizards for the sixth seed, and 1.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead.
Undefeated update: The Brooklyn Nets are undefeated in 2014 outside of Canada and undefeated with Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup.
That was… a horrid, stunted game of basketball, with few moments of clarity, and nobody cared.
Here’s why nobody cared:
There aren’t many times in sports when pure emotion completely overrides the game, when the importance of a game has an infinitesimal connection to the actual outcome. Sunday night was one of those games. This was Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s victory lap; even though neither had a profound impact on the game’s outcome throughout all four quarters, they were the reason Sunday night mattered at all.
KGesus: Kevin Garnett still left an indelible impact on the game. For the second time this month, Garnett picked up a game-deciding steal in the waning moments, this time driving coast-to-coast for a layup:
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
Collective Shooting-Self-In-Foot: Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field and under 27 percent from three-point range. The Celtics nearly had as many turnovers (16) as assists.
Hey, there were other guys in that trade! Kris Humphries finished with six points and five rebounds, shooting 2-5 from the field. Gerald Wallace scored 12 points on 4-8 shooting, hitting two threes, the second one right in front of the Nets bench. He made a motion towards the bench after hitting the three in a trash-talk-y fashion.
MarShon Brooks (D-League) and Keith Bogans (respectfully asked to leave) were no longer with the team.
Secret Ex-Net: Chris Johnson, who was Brooklyn’s last training camp cut, had a solid shooting night: the lefty finished with 12 points on 4-6 shooting. He’s on a ten-day contract with Boston.
Secret Ex-Celtic: Joe Johnson, who spent the first half of his rookie year in Boston, struggled to make an impact, finishing with just seven points on 2-7 shooting.
Shout out to minutes restrictions: Deron Williams was the only Nets player to play more than 30 minutes. That’s crucial on a back-to-back, especially since the last time they faced the Raptors on a back-to-back, it followed an exhausting double-overtime win over the Miami Heat.
Rajon Rondo Cares Not For Your Moment: At the end of the first half, the Nets gave the ball to Pierce at the top of the key, and the crowd rose with the moment. Immediately upon hearing the crowd roar, Rondo sprung to action, bringing a quick double-team to Pierce and forcing him to pass to Deron Williams.
This, captured by @jose3030, sums up both players pretty smoothly.
It wasn’t all bad:
Touching moment captured between these two. According to Garnett, he, Pierce, and Rondo had dinner together the night before the game.
Credit to Steven Senne for the shot.
My Thoughts At The Half: NO ONE CARES ABOUT THIS GAME BUT IT IS STILL BAD.
Another angel gets his wings.
Jason Kidd Suit Update: Casual is the thing: a semi-plaid, semi-checkered dark suit, with a light shirt, loose collar. Now known as “The Kidd.” Shout out to the touch of gray in his beard.
Shot Chart Rorschach Test: Paul Pierce: A bird’s-eye view of a blushing man blowing his nose.
Quote of the Night:
“It took me two days to get the layup.”
-Kevin Garnett on his game-clinching “fast”-break layup.
Locker Room Language: Sunday night, Andray Blatche saw the media approaching him, and as a joke started slipping his Beats By Dre headphones, singing “I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the maaaaan.” He took them off, answered a few questions, and after a few seconds of silence, began singing again and walked away.
Across the river: The New York Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 110-103, behind 35 points from Carmelo Anthony and an 8-10 shooting performance from Raymond Felton. The Knicks are now 17-27, one game out of a playoff spot.
Next up: The Nets take on the Toronto Raptors in Brooklyn tonight. Even though the only Nets loss in 2014 came against the Raptors on the second half of a back-to-back, there’s reason to believe this one will be different: they’re at home, they’re mostly well-rested, they weren’t stuck on a plane until 6 A.M., and they didn’t just have to play the defending champions for two overtimes.