Jarrett Jack's Stealth Three-Pointer Helps Net Win 92-88
In the initial year of the brand new Barclays Center of downtown Brooklyn, NY, when the New York Knicks visited the Brooklyn Nets, it meant something.
It was 2012, and the Nets opened their brand new home-arena, completing the transition from the Izod Center in East Rutherford New Jersey to the pressured and prestigious grounds of the city.
Both teams were competitive and every Nets-Knicks game gave fans an excuse to choose their side, creating exciting environments, whether it was Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center.
It's 2015 and times have changed.
The Knicks are no longer the Atlantic Division champs and tonight the Nets reminded them how far they have fallen.
As ice covers our sidewalks creating dangerous walking conditions, New York had no trouble packing into Barclays tonight to witness the Nets defeat the Knicks, 92-88.
This win, increased the Nets winning streak to three, improving to (21-28) on the season as the Knicks, who showed fight, fell to (10-40).
30 games under .500, I know.
At least that's not the Nets who are in the midst of turning their season around, heading in the right direction for a change, after a horrendous month of January.
In the first month of the New Year, the Nets lost 12 of their scheduled 15 games, which included losing streaks of seven and four.
February, the month of love, is proving to be much kinder to the Nets as they have won the first three games of the month, including thrilling wins over NBA powerhouses in the Los Angeles Clippers (102-100) and the Toronto Raptors (109-93).
"The last three games have been great," said Deron Williams, according to ESPNNY.com.
"Three wins in a row. Tonight it was another where things didn't go right for us, but down the stretch we found ways to win."
If Williams is referring to "things didn't go right for us" as far as this game is concerned, then he must be questioning why his teammates only beat one of the worst teams in the league by four points.
Right now, the Nets are in the playoff race, occupying the 8th and final spot and in order to solidify their status as a playoff team or attempt to move up in the standings, the Nets have to be better than just four points against lottery teams,
All in all, they won this game, despite losing their grip on early leads and making the significant plays late in the final quarter to pull off an expected victory.
In the first half, the Nets enjoyed comfortable leads of 10 and 17 behind the strong play of Brook Lopez, who scored 14 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.
As for the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, with help from Lou Amundson, Jason Smith and Lance Thomas, would score nine of his team high 21 points in the last 4 min of the second quarter, battling back from a deficit of 17, entering the halftime period down by eight, 45-53.
I mentioned before that the Nets made the significant plays in the final period to achieve the victory and here they are:
With 1:38 remaining, and the Nets up by a slim 1-point lead, 87-86, Lopez, as he feasted all night from the painted area, connected on a 9-foot floater assisted by Jarrett Jack, to give the Nets a little breathing room, up three-87 to 84.
And here's the dagger.
Jack, courtesy of horrible Knicks defense and an assist by Joe Johnson, stood at the arc of the three-point line, all by his lonesome and connected from deep, giving the Nets the final say, up by four, 90-86, with 13 seconds remaining until the end of regulation.
Anthony couldn't dig the Knicks out of this hole, nor could the triangle offense.
The Nets did what they were supposed to do and that is the only praise that counts.
"This is big for us to close out the first half, especially before All-Star break, going into it on a positive note knowing that we start out from the West Coast right after the break," Joe Johnson said post-game, via ESPNNY.com
Every win is big, especially when you take care of your business at home as the superior to your opponent.
Four players in double-figures for the Nets in Lopez, Jack (20 points), Johnson (13 points), and Garnett (12 points) is big.
Brooklyn Nets center, Brook Lopez; shooting guard Joe Johnson; and forward, Kevin Garnett
Lopez, albeit coming off the bench receiving starting minutes (33 min tonight) and Williams seeing some action, returning from ailments this season and contributing to the Nets cause is also big.
In the Nets three wins this month, Lopez and Williams have provided stability from two of the most important positions on the court, with Lopez and Williams, both reaching double-figures in wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors and tonight against the Knicks (Lopez: 24 points vs. LAC, 22 vs. Knicks, Williams: 15 points vs LAC, 11 Raptors).
It might not be what Nets management expected from this team, with how they envisioned Williams and Lopez as the primary pillars of success, but this format is working (Williams and Lopez-role players) and head coach Lionel Hollins would be foolish to remove Jack and Mason Plumlee from the starting lineup as they have earned their current roles.
The Nets will look to improve their streak against the Washington Wizards tonight, and hopefully, if the opportunity presents itself, against the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets over their next five games (including All-Star Weekend).
A three game-winning streak could prevent Nets management from blowing up Brooklyn basketball, looking forward to the future in rebuilding.
In February, it appears the Nets are not interested in that plan.
For the moment, the playoffs are actually a possibility.