It’s frankly kind of amazing what just an injection of athleticism can do to your roster. Between a quicker Deron Williams, a springy rookie duo, a new, talented hybrid forward, and the mainstays doing their jobs, the Nets rode out a lead they began building at the end of the second quarter and dominated the talented but troubled Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City.
Though the teams played neck-and-neck throughout the first half, a quick 9-0 run put the Nets ahead to close the first half — and for good, as they poured on exciting points and limited the Nuggets from getting any offense going inside.
The Nuggets are in free-fall, having now lost 16 of their last 18 games, which may put a damper on the strength of this victory. But the Nets didn’t have any issues whatsoever closing out a dominant victory. That’s not a common trend for this team. Is this, pun intended, a jumping-off point?
The stats: 19 PTS, 6-17 FG, 7-8 FT, 9 REB
Poor shooting percentage aside, I’ll take a Lopez game like this: unnaturally aggressive going for rebounds, barreled into the paint for shot attempts, and played Jusuf Nurkic solidly straight-up for most of the game, punctuating his pestering with a blocked dunk attempt in the second half. Struggled to convert on his shots inside, but didn’t appear to have any aversion to contact, a big positive for Lopez given how he plays at his best.