After a disappointing loss to the Washington Wizards, the Brooklyn Nets (34-31) looked to bounce back against the high-flying Phoenix Suns (38-29).
This matchup was against two teams with a contrast in style of play -- Phoenix loves to run and gun, while Brooklyn plays a slower half-court game. Brooklyn prevailed by beating Phoenix at their own game with a 108-95 victory.
With this win, Brooklyn increased their home win streak to nine games, and they now trail the Wizards by 0.5 game for the 5th spot.
Brooklyn came out energized and took an early 30-20 lead to end the 1st quarter. At times, it seemed like Brooklyn couldn’t miss -- they finished the quarter shooting 70% from the field.
The Nets hot shooting continued into the 2nd, and they ended the half shooting 67.5%.
A pair of Deron Williams free throws gave the Nets a 16 point lead, 56-40, with 1:51 left in the 2nd. That was the largest lead for the Nets in the quarter, and they went into halftime leading 60-47.
Both Deron Williams and Gerald Green led their respective teams in scoring with 15 points. The Nets outscored the Suns, who are 2nd worse in defending the paint, 44-22 -- the Nets scored seven more points in the paint than their season average. Also, the Nets were dominant on the fast break, outscoring the Suns 14-6.
Green, who played 31 games for the Nets in the 2011-2012 season, had two highlight reel dunks in the first half. One of those dunks included an insane dunk over Mason Plumlee in transition. As he drove to the basket, he lifted off, cocked the ball to the side to avoid Plumlee from blocking it, then he brought it back and finished with power.
The Nets opened the 3rd quarter with a 9-2 run to increase their lead to 20. During that run, Joe Johnson made a nasty play with a behind the back crossover to create space -- then he proceeded to hit a three from way behind the 3-point line.
Phoenix made a game of it, later in the quarter, by responding with a 16-5 run to cut the lead to single-digits, but the Nets responded with a 14-0 run -- led by Johnson and Paul Pierce consecutive threes -- of their own to push the lead to 23.
Brooklyn were able to hang on to the lead without Pierce and Johnson playing a minute in the 4th quarter.
Key Stats: All five Nets starters finished in double-digits. Deron Williams led the Nets with 28 points. Joe Johnson contributed with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Mason Plumlee finished with a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds. Shaun Livingston had 12 points and 5 assists. Paul Pierce finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Markieff Morris led the Sun with 18 points. Gerald Green had 17 points off the bench. Goran Dragic finished with 13 points. Eric Bledsoe had 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Key Notes: Kevin Garnett missed his 9th straight game because of back spasms.