On Friday night, the Nets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers by a final score of 86-76.
The Skinny: The Deron Williams to Brook Lopez combination looked great early, and Joe Johnson came out with a hot hand as well. But “Lob City’s” DeAndre Jordan cleaned up on the boards and threw down a few vicious dunks on feeds from Chris Paul. Both teams scored the majority of their first quarter points in the paint, and the exciting opening frame ended in a tie at 25.
The second units both looked sloppy to start the second quarter, but once the starters returned, the normal pace picked up. An 8-0 run to close out the first half gave the Clippers a seven-point lead at the break, with Blake Griffin leading the way with 12 points.
Lopez came out hot in the third quarter, scoring 10 points – his same total from the entire first half. The Nets shot 10-of-19 from the field in the quarter, while the Clippers managed just 5-of-18, which allowed the Nets to tie the game at 63 after three.
The Clippers didn’t score in the fourth quarter until the 8:30 mark. The teams battled back and forth, but Lopez again controlled the pace, hitting on back-to-back field goals which gave the Nets a five-point lead with 3:03 to play. Johnson followed with a clutch three a few possessions later to give Brooklyn an eight-point lead, which they later increased to 10 for the win.
High Scorers: Lopez led all scorers with 26 points on 13-of-24 shooting, pulled down five rebounds and blocked three shots. For the Clippers, Paul and Griffin each scored 14 points. Paul added nine assists.
Key Stats: The Clippers had a 45-35 rebounding advantage, including pulling down 17 offensive boards. Los Angeles also outscored the Nets 17-0 in fast-break points. But the Nets still were able to get the victory.
Who Was Hot: Johnson looked like the Johnson of old, shooting 8-of-12 from the field for 19 points. Reggie Evans pulled down 12 rebounds against his former team. Jordan finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 boards.
Who Was Not: Williams was cold from the outside, shooting 3-of-10 including just 1-of-5 from three-point range. However, he did finish with 11 points and eight assists. Jamal Crawford, who came into the game leading NBA reserve players with 19.7 points per game, only managed to shoot 5-of-13 from the field for 13 points.
Fun Fact: One of the game’s referees, the legendary Dick Bavetta, grew up about a mile away from Barclays Center in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.
Jim Mancari, ContributorThis was an exciting game the whole way, as the Nets moved to 5-1 at home in their new arena.
The Nets got outrebounded big time, but 20 Los Angeles turnovers sealed their losing fate. Brooklyn’s defense held the Clippers to just 76 points overall and just 13 in the fourth quarter, which is an incredible feat against “Lob City.”
The Nets’ typical third quarter woes were nonexistent tonight as they outscored the Clippers 23-16 in the frame.
Lopez continues to dominate on the offensive end of the floor. He’s now scored 20-plus points in seven of the Nets 11 games. Hopefully, Johnson can build off his hot shooting performance.
In a battle of two of the game’s elite point guards, Williams’ bunch got the win. Paul is now just 4-14 in his career matching up against D-Will.
Brooklyn (7-4) remains home Sunday to take on rookie sensation Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. The 3 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.