The Brooklyn Nets may finally have arrived. Exactly a week after it appeared that they hit rock bottom in an ugly loss against the Knicks, the Nets have turned it around, won the three games in a row and, most importantly, have looked like a cohesive team along the way as they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-91 at the Barclays Center Thursday night.
It’s no coincidence that Deron Williams‘ return coincided with their emergence. D-Will played earlier in the year, but was clearly playing through a bad ankle sprain the entire time. Since he’s been back he has looked 100 percent and his 15-point, five-rebound, four-assist night didn’t do his game justice Thursday night. He has clearly reenergized the Nets now that he’s completely healthy.
Unfortunately, Brook Lopez can’t catch a break. Lopez took a spill about midway through the third quarter when he was posting up against Blake Griffin. He immediately left the game, came back briefly, looked bad, and then checked out. The Nets announced that he has a left ankle sprain and he missed the entire fourth quarter.
It was a typical slow start for the Nets as they weren’t guarding the perimeter and the Clippers grabbed a 24-12 behind 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Things changed quickly though as Brook Lopez took over the game and went on a run where he scored eight of the Nets final 10 points in the quarter to get Brooklyn back in it 24-20 after one.
The second quarter was one of the Nets best this season. D-Will came alive with 12 points, including 2-of-2 behind the arc, and looked better than he has at any point this season. Andray Blatche also had a big quarter with 10 points and five rebounds. The team shot 52.6 percent overall and outrebounded the Clippers 13-8 in the quarter to build up a big 56-44 lead going into halftime.
Everyone knows, though, that the third quarter has been the all important quarter for them this season. They managed to keep up the intensity thanks to D-Will, who had just two points, but four rebounds and three assists. He had quite a few hockey assists too as the Nets did a good job moving the ball around. The beneficiary of the good ball movement was Joe Johnson, who had 11 points as he shot 3-for-6 from behind the arc.
That pretty much finished things off for the game though as the Nets took a 21-point lead going into the final quarter. From there, it was Paul Pierce and the Bench Mob to take it home.