Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
If the Nets right the ship after a forgettable December, turn into the type of team many thought it would be in the preseason and put at least a scare into teams come April and May, people may look back at Wednesday night as the game where everything turned around.
After blowing all of a 23-point first half lead, the Nets closed with a flourish, ripping off a game-ending 25-11 run to stun the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-96. The win snaps a seven-losing streak against the defending Western Conference champions and was the Nets’ first win at Chesapeake Energy Arena, regarded as one of the toughest environments in the NBA.
The Nets were outscored, 27-15, in the third quarter to continue a season-long struggle coming out of halftime, but it also showed it can take a blow, get back up and win a knockdown, drag out game against a quality opponent.
“Deron ran the team unbelievebaly well and scored points and created stuff for other people,” Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo told reporters. “Joe was a monster and Brook was great, especially down the stretcth when we needed it. It was one of those ones games that could slip away, but we found a way to win, which is a great thing.”
Joe Johnson looked like the player he was with the Atlanta Hawks, scoring a game-high 33 points, Brook Lopez continued a torrid stretch since returning from a sprained right foot with 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting and Deron Williams produced one of his best games of the season, scoring 19 points to go along with 13 assists and five steals. Williams is only the second Net in the last decade besides Jason Kidd to finish with 19-13-5 in a game.
Wednesday was an outstanding bounce-back effort after losing by 31 points and scoring just five in the third quarter at the San Antonio Spurs on New Year’s Eve. Additionally, it was a game in which you had Johnson taking over the role of primary scorer, while Lopez and Williams each did their share behind him. In a perfect scenario, that is likely what the Nets would want moving forward out of their Big 3.
The 13 assists for Williams was his first game of at least 10 assists since Dec. 19 at the Knicks.
“We’ve set the bar a little bit high (with this win)” Carlesimo said. “We showed ourselves what we’re capable of doing. We’ve gotta go out and try to do it again. This game was an excellent performance.”
With this win potentially acting as the kick starter, the upcoming schedule is set up for the Nets to pick up some steam. They are at the Washington Wizards on Friday, home for the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday and home for the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 11. The Wizards, Kings, Sixers and Suns currently have a combined record of 42-84, while Kings and Suns are second-to-last and last, respectively in the Pacific Division.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA