The Brooklyn Nets mean business. After jumping out to a 27-point lead in the first half, the Nets (37-42) withstood a mid-game surge by the Washington Wizards by scoring a season-high 42 fourth-quarter points en route to a 117-80 victory Friday night. The Nets racked up a season-high 38 points off turnovers and dished out 29 assists (to only six turnovers), including nine apiece from Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
Brook Lopez led the scoring with 26 points and Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 22 points including a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point range, becoming just the second player along with Bostjan Nachbar in franchise history to make six or more three-pointers without a miss.
“It’s really fun to play like that,” Deron Williams added. “I think it benefits everybody. We’re playing like a team. We’re not playing like a group of individuals that was thrown out there, we’re playing like a team right now. I think that’s been the difference.”
The impressive victory kept the Nets a game ahead of the Indiana Pacers (36-43) for the eighth and final playoff spot while remaining tied with the Boston Celtics (37-42) after their win in Cleveland. After a loss last night, the Miami Heat (35-45) are all but eliminated, needing just one Nets victory, Pacers victory, or Heat loss to kick them out. Brooklyn’s “magic number” to make the playoffs is now just two.
Tonight, the Nets play their final road game of the season against Jason Kidd’s sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks (39-40), fresh off their 99-91 win at Madison Square Garden Friday night over the Knicks. Giannis Antetokounmpo AKA “The Greek Freak” led the Bucks with 23 points and nine rebounds, including this insane eye-popping jam:
The Nets have lost two of three from the Bucks this season. The teams played two separate triple-overtime games this season, both at Barclays Center, with each team taking a victory. In their last meeting on March 20th, Lopez helped lead his Nets teammates through a tough shooting night with by notching 32 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks including an emphatic dunk and-one the opened up the third overtime. Joe Johnson scored 20 points, and hit a clutch three-pointer to tie the game towards the end of the second overtime.
What to watch for: Passo-Joe. In the last ten Nets games (8-2), Joe Johnson has averaged 5.6 assists per game, tying his Nets high with nine assists twice in that span. In three seasons with Brooklyn, Johnson has only averaged 3.3 assists per game.
Tip-off is at 3:00 EDT at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI.