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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.
What happened: The Nets let loose a barrage of three-pointers and didn’t trail once in 48 minutes, earning an emphatic 108-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Six players scored in double figures, led by Paul Pierce’s 22.
Where they stand: The win pushes the Nets to 38-33, moving the playoff needle slightly: with a 91-74 Chicago Bulls loss, the Nets are now 1.5 games back from the 4th seed and home-court advantage in the first round with 11 games left to play.
Unfortunately for Brooklyn, the Toronto Raptors eked out a 105-103 win over the Boston Celtics, maintaining their 2.5 game Atlantic Division lead. The win also clinched a playoff spot for the Raptors.
The Bulls & Raptors both hold tiebreakers over the Nets should the teams finish with an identical record, with one exception: if the Nets win the division with a record identical to the Bulls, they’ll earn the higher seeding.
“If we’re going to go anywhere in these playoffs, we’re a team full of depth,” Paul Pierce said after the game. “We’ve got a number of guys that can beat you on any given night.”
That Was… An outside barrage from start to finish. The Nets shot a ridiculous 54.9 percent from the field and 14-29 from three-point range, mitigating a night when they didn’t force turnovers by out-rebounding an opponent and just burying them with scoring talent. They hit three threes in the first 90 seconds, Pierce alone hit four in the first four minutes, and six Nets ended the game in double figures. Four players (Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Andray Blatche, Shaun Livingston) scored 54 combined points on just 24 shots and 12 free throw attempts.
The Nets struggled to lock down the paint, but a few big runs in the first, third, and fourth quarters helped them keep Cleveland at bay, mostly led by that red-hot three-point shooting. Mirza Teletovic hit three three-pointers, two back-to-back in the third quarter.
Even Jason Collins attempted one. Yes, Jason Collins attempted a three. That’s how out-of-hand this game got.
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
Pierce got off to a hot start, hitting his first four threes and getting fouled on a fifth en route to 17 first-quarter points. After his hot start, Pierce retreated to the locker room after an apparent re-aggravation of the “stinger” in his shoulder, but returned without showing ill effect. He did get into foul trouble, but that didn’t have an impact on the end of the game.
“As a scorer — I’ve been a scorer my whole life — all you’ve got to do is see one go in,” Pierce said after the game. “You feel like all of them are going to go in. My teammates did a good job of moving the ball. It wasn’t necessarily play being run for me. We were aggressive on offense, penetrating and making the extra pass. That’s what we’ve been doing pretty much the second half of the season. Different guys are going to be the benefactor of that on different nights, and I was tonight.”
Pierce finished with a ridiculous 22 points on 5-6 shooting, with all of his field goal attempts coming from behind the arc. He also shot a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line.
Was Paul Pierce happy with his start?
Yo, Deron Williams Dunked Again:
D-Will D-stroyed the rim for the second time this year, this time with two hands and without accidentally throwing the ball off the back of the rim. He joked after the game that there was no debate over whether or not his dunk was actually a dunk. “(Jason) Collins(‘s dunk) is the one we’re debating.”
Williams had a quiet-but-solid game, finishing with 13 points on 5-10 shooting, adding five assists and turning the ball over just once.
But wait, what are those blue jerseys?
It was “Brooklyn Blue Nights” AKA “We swear this has nothing to do with the Dodgers, please don’t sue us Los Angeles Night” again.
Jason Collins, Babe Ruthing: According to Deron Williams, Jason Collins told his Nets teammates on the bench that he’d put down a dunk in his garbage-time minutes. Joe Johnson did not believe him. After throwing down this dunk, he pointed over to Johnson on the bench.
— Andres B (@_andresb) March 29, 2014
My Thoughts At The Half: Spencer Hawes is the worst.
Bench Mob: The Nets picked up 48 of their 108 points off the bench, led by Alan Anderson (13 points, 6-10 shooting), Andray Blatche (10, 4-5), Marcus Thornton (10, 3-11), and Mirza Teletovic (9, all on three-pointers). Teletovic was also a force on the boards, pulling down ten rebounds, his most since February 9th.
“In many games I’ve shown that I can (rebound),” Teletovic said after the game. “I just have to do it consistently. I think this team needs me rebounding a lot.”
Shaun Livingston, Doin’ Things:
Livingston had the ultimate Glue Guy Game, putting up eight points (4-5 shooting), eight rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a game-high +28, but punctuated it in the fourth quarter by getting loose in the lane and putting down this pretty two-hand flush.
Jason Kidd, Yellin’:
Andray Blatche, Going Full Blatche:
Sometimes you go full Blatche.
Andray Blatche, Getting An Assist While Falling Down:
I defy you to watch this GIF and tell me whether or not Blatche was passing this ball or shooting it. It’s impossible.
Where Was Kerry Kittles During Nets-Cavs?
Oh yeah, Kerry Kittles is in the house tonight too.
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) March 29, 2014
Sneaking Around The Locker Room: One Brook Lopez, decked out with a backwards retro Nets fitted cap, a Batman t-shirt, crutches, and a walking boot.
Next up: The Nets practice Saturday before hosting the 36-35 Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday at 6:00 P.M. The Timberwolves defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 143-107 Friday night, with Kevin Love putting up a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.