Nets Hang On to Victory, Move to 1.5 Games Behind New York Knicks
The Brooklyn Nets took on the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night in what proved to be a roller-coaster ride of a game. The Nets were the clear favorite on paper and looked like a much better team for most of the game. New Orleans made a valiant comeback, but could not thwart Brooklyn's effort. The Nets now sit just 1.5 games behind the Atlantic Division leading Knicks.
Brooklyn got out of the gates fast vs the Hornets. Deron Williams set the tone for Brooklyn, scoring 14 of his 33 points in the first quarter. New Orleans struggled to score early on and trailed by 11 after the first.
The Nets kept up the pace to finish the first half. Brooklyn pushed their lead to 22 with about 5 minutes to go in the half. The halftime lead was a lofty 16 but certainly not insurmountable.
The game proved to be a tale of two halves. New Orleans looked like the dominant team much of the second half, outscoring the Nets by 12. Greivis Vasquez led the charge, missing a triple-double by only 2 rebounds and 3 assists. Vasquez has been a pleasant surprise for New Orleans all season, leading the entire NBA in assists.
Williams kept the Nets afloat, scoring the last 11 points of the game for Brooklyn. He calmly hit all of his last 6 free throws. Williams has been coming on of late. He's been criticized all season due to perceived lack of mobility and poor shooting. Williams has been dealing with ankle injuries all season long and hopefully may be returning to 100%.
The Nets are proving to be a scary Eastern Conference team, nipping right at the heels of New York. If the Knicks' poor play continues, it won't be more than a couple of weeks before Brooklyn sits at the top of their division. If the Nets can stay healthy, they could end up in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003.
The Nets' next game will be Friday as they host Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.