Another up-and-down game in an up-and-down season featuring an up-and-down roster, but this one ended up, with some surprising production from Brooklyn’s second unit and a “closer” 5-man lineup featuring Brook Lopez and four double-initial wing players (Joe Johnson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack, and Alan Anderson).
The Nets jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, kept it rolling in the second and fourth quarters, and produced one of their finest offensive games of the season against one of the league’s best defensive teams, shooting around 60 percent for most of the game and dominating despite playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road after a triple-overtime game.
The win meant more than just the pick-and-roll coverages and big shots from their wings down the stretch. The Nets now sit just 0.5 games back from the Indiana Pacers for the ninth seed and one game behind the Boston Celtics for eighth with 14 games remaining. After their chances hit near-rock bottom, the playoffs are within reach once again.
One more note: Jarrett Jack, Deron Williams combined: 14 assists, zero turnovers.
The stats: 26 PTS, 11-14 FG, 4-5 FT, 4 REB, 4 BLK
Some early fire for Lopez, who went toe-to-toe with Roy Hibbert in the fierce battle to see how many shots two seven-foot centers could make outside of the restricted area. (They tied at five after the first half.)
Lopez poured on the points in the third quarter from all around the floor, and provided some solid rim protection, racking up four blocks to make up for a few possessions out of position.