The Brooklyn Nets beat the Phoenix Suns 100-98 in an overtime game in Phoenix last night. In a lot of ways it was a big win for them, it stopped their recent skid, everybody contributed, they out-played the Suns in the third quarter, they got their first road win, Joe Johnson is still clutch, but all of that is overshadowed by the loss of Deron Williams.
D-Will hurt his ankle again and had to leave the game after the seven minute mark. He was backing up on the court, stepped on Andray Blatche‘s ankle, and fell to the ground. He eventually got up and hopped off the court. Afterward he went to get x-rayed so it didn’t seem serious, but it’s hard to imagine him not taking at least one game off and this is certainly going to slowdown the healing process.
“Things like this happen and they happened for us early during training camp,” Jason Kidd said. “If there wasn’t a situation where he wasn’t playing in camp then we wouldn’t know what Shaun or Alan can do at point guard. We hope that he can recover quickly, he’s young, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Again, it’s not one person, it’s a team game and we showed that tonight.”
Paul Pierce, who played a season high 40 minutes, felt like because they were able to win without D-Will it was potentially an even bigger statement. “It was big. We wanted to stop the losing streak. We did it without Deron, our starting point guard, it shows us the type of team that we can be. Guys showed their true character. There is no fooling anybody now, This is who we are,” he said.
• What was the biggest difference in this game as opposed to the ones before it? A defensive improvement? Nah, Pierce said it had more to do with effort and attitude.
“I just think we had an attitude adjustment,” Pierce explained. “That was the biggest thing. It wasn’t the offense or the defense, it was attitude. Guys just had a sense of pride and went out there and showed who we are.”
Kevin Garnett explained how this game was just the start of their turnaround. “There is more to come. We have more and we’re all trying to find our niche. This win was big, period. We won it, we fought, we executed and shared the ball. The other night we had five assists and that’s almost like a joke. It was none sense,” he said.
• D-Will only played 4:40 of the game which meant that the Nets basically had to win without him. For that they needed Shaun Livingston to step up and he certainly did that. Livingston had a season-high 18 points with six rebounds and a couple of steals. He played aggressively and with energy. He was the one who started the comeback in the second quarter and kept it going in the third. Without him, the Nets have no shot to win this game.
“That’s why we wanted him,” Kidd said of Livingston. “I’m a big fan of Shaun and running the offense. I thought he ran the pick and roll extremely well. Not just offense, but defensively he was big for us. He found open guys and (Brook Lopez). There are so many guys who, when you talk about game balls, everybody should get game balls.”
• After Livingston, Lopez was probably the next most important player Friday night. He only had two points in the first half, but was dominant in the second half and finished with a season-high 27 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
“I told big fella he’s a beast, KG said when asked how he motivated Lopez at halftime. “I can’t tell you the emphasis I put in the word beast. He’s a leader and he carried us tonight. He showed the true hart of a champion.”
• The third quarter has been key for the Nets so far this season. When they outscore opponents in that quarter they were 2-0 and when outscored they were 0-5 heading into last nights game. It’s been a struggle for them, but last night they came out aggressive, dominated the quarter, and it was the key to a Nets victory.
“We came out in the third quarter and had our best quarter of the year,” Kidd said. “We fought, we lose the lead, and guys came in and played positive minutes and helped us get a win tonight. I think we wanted to start the third like we ended the second. We had a really good second on both ends offensively and defensively. We had a tough quarter and that was the first quarter. It just showed the veteran leadership, guys didn’t panic.”
• Another thing that needs mentioning was the fact that Friday night, more than any other game of the year, Jason Kidd actually looked like a head coach. He was up and running around for the most part, he argued with refs, and when the game was it its most intense moments, he was barking out orders, unlike he has all year, during the play.
“I felt like I lost a little weight,” Kidd said. “I was sprinting down to the other end of the quart. I hadn’t done that in a while. After all the things that we’ve been through, this would have been an easy one to let go. It’s good to see how they fought back. I’m trying to find my way as a coach. This is a process for me. There are a lot of different theories, but I’m trying to find mine.”
• One of the more fun aspects of this game was that there were two pairs of brothers in this game — Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee as well as Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris. For the Plumlees, who played together for three years at Duke, this was their first time going head-to-head in a game since they were very young.
“It was fun,” Mason Plumlee said. “I don’t think we were on the court at the same time for very long, but when we were it was cool. It wasn’t me but I’m going to tell him that my team won for sure. I’m going to see him now.”
Mason not only won, but he pretty much outplayed his older brother with a more efficient game. Mason had seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes while Miles had six points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in 35 minutes.
• Pierce called it an attitude adjustment, and it was. The Nets played very passive basketball throughout most of this season so far. After the loss on Wednesday, a lot of players pointed out that there was no desperation to their game and it was sorely needed. On Friday they showed that desperation and they finally beat a team they should be beating. It’s early, but this was a big win for them.
“Very badly, we were very desperate tonight,” Joe Johnson said. “There were guys that were really tired and gave it all they had. We just picked our intensity up defensively.”