NETS 88 KNICKS 85
The game was over when: JR Smith’s last second 3 missed off the backboard as time expired. Deron Williams could have iced the game with two free throws but he only made one of two (ending his free throw streak at 52) and JR had the chance to tie it.
Turning point: In the fourth quarter the Nets lost the lead, were struggling to make shots, and looked like they could possibly fold when CJ Watson and Joe Johnson hit back to back to back 3′s (Joe hit two in a row). That gave the Nets the lead and some momentum. Johnson would go on to score 10 huge points in the quarter.
Sexy Individual Stat: Kris Humphries gathered 13 rebounds in 27 minutes and he got his paw on a handful of others. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive glass and led to wide open shots for the Nets.
Frightening Team Stat: The Nets had 19 turnovers. The goal for every game is to have 0 turnovers but a realistic expectation is to keep that number around 12 or 13. It wasn’t always a case of them throwing irresponsible passes. Most of the turnovers were guys not being strong with the ball in traffic. Jason Kidd seemed like he had a hand in most of these turnovers (pun intended). He had 6 steals on the night.
Game ball goes to: Joe Johnson scored 25 points on 8-20 shooting, 5-7 from 3 point range. His shot selection wasn’t as bad as the 8-20 would lead you to believe. He has made a decision as of late to get into the paint and he has done so virtually at will. The only problem being his inability to connect on his little floaters and jump hooks in the lane. For his career Johnson has always ranked among the best guards in the league on making shots in the restricted area, so chances are those shots will start to drop. He’s getting our imaginary game ball today for taking and making big shots when the Nets needed them. Aside from his before mentioned back to back threes Johnson hit a pull up jumper to give the Nets an 85-84 lead just after Melo had taken the lead away from the Nets with his two free throws. On the play Johnson gave a JR Smith a subtle but effective hesitation shimmy to get himself open for the shot.
Keys to Victory: Rebounding and three point shooting. The Nets out-rebounded the Knicks 52-37 and they shot 12-24 from deep.
Unsung Hero: Brook Lopez had 4 ginormous blocks. It wasn’t like he got a little piece of somebody’s jump hook as it left the hand. He stuffed Amar’e on a vintage Amar’e dunk attempt. He tracked JR Smith and swatted him at the rim, he did the same to Melo. In a close, low scoring game those four blocks have amplified value. They were worth at least 6 points, possibly 8 in a three point game with tons of momentum and machismo up for grabs.
Up Next for the Nets: (Brace Yourself) @Minnesota, @Memphis, @Houston.