The Brooklyn Nets kept a good thing going as they extended their winning streak to four games and remain a perfect 4-0 in 2014 after they beat the Golden State Warriors 102-98 at the Barclays Center Wednesday night. It was a tough win as the Nets rebounded from a 16-point deficit against the hottest team in the NBA, who was riding a 10-game winning streak entering the game.
“I think right off the bat they came out and had a 32 point quarter,” Jason Kidd said. “Normally we could have gone the other way, we felt like we had some great looks that didn’t go down for us, but we stayed the course and in 2014 we’ve been doing that. We played for 48 minutes both offensively and defensively and that’s what has helped us win of late.”
“It’s a big win obviously them being as hot as they are,” Shaun Livingston said about the Warriors’ 10-game winning streak. “They’ve been playing probably the best basketball in the league being on the road. This was a good team win. We got a lot of production from a lot of different areas.”
On the Nets four-game winning streak, nobody is ready to say that the Nets have completely turned anything around, especially while Deron Williams is out, but a few players noted on how the attitude has improved.
“I think before we got down on ourselves,” Paul Pierce said. “We lost confidence, but now we’re finding ways to get back in it. We’re causing turnovers, we’re making runs and giving ourselves a chance.”
It’s not a coincidence that the Nets winning streak has coincided with the return of Andrei Kirilenko. He had just eight points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal in 18 minutes. And those were 18 key minutes too. He has been a big difference since his return.
“I hope so,” Kirilenko said when asked if he felt that he was making a big impact. “I hope my game helps, but again I think every guy who steps on the floor tried to bring something. Sometimes it’s a good night sometimes it’s a bad night, but they try to bring everything on the court.”
Kirilenko had a point though, this was a big team win. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 27 points on 8-of-17 with three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Andray Blatche had 17 points, five rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes. Kevin Garnett played a solid game with 13 points, five rebounds and four steals in 23 minutes. Shaun Livingston also had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Not bad after he went 1-of-5 in the first quarter.
“It’s Paul, Joe and even Shaun and we played to the young fella KG down the stretch,” Kidd said. “He had some great looks with those turn around jump shots. It’s a team effort and that’s how those guys have played since Oklahoma, as a team.”
Kidd was especially happy with KG’s performance and said, “Offensively and defensively he’s been off the charts. Tonight and defensively he’s been great since that Oklahoma game he’s looked like he’s 25. Tonight he looked like he was 21.”
The Nets had an ugly start as they surrendered six three-pointers by the Warriors in the first quarter while they shot just 39.1 percent themselves. The Nets trailed by as many as 16 points until Mirza Teletovic and Joe Johnson hit late threes to pull it to within 10.
Those threes seemed to change the momentum in the game as the Nets came out and not only make up the deficit, but took a seven-point lead themselves. Paul Pierce got to the line six times that quarter and finished with nine points. Kirilenko also came off the bench and scored seven on 3-of-4 from the floor. They also held the Warriors kept the from hitting any threes and led 59-52 heading into the half.
The third quarter was a slow defensive quarter, but after the Nets build up an 11-point lead, Golden State went on a 20-8 run to finish the third up by one. The fourth quarter belonged to KG; he had 11 points on 4-of-6 from the floor and a couple of big steals late. Stephen Curry hit 5-of-10 down the stretch and made things tense, but Joe Johnson hit 8-of-9 from the line to keep the Nets ahead until time eventually ran out.
The Nets have two games left before they head to London next week with the big one obviously being Friday night against the Miami Heat. That will be a good test for this team to see if they’ve actually figured something out or if this is just a lucky little run. That is, to say, without putting too much importance on one game.