I wrote the other day about how the Nets need to get other people involved to win, and they finally got that going today with Blake Griffin.
Kyrie Irving (31 PTS, 4 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK) and Kevin Durant (32 PTS, 11 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) will always get their stats, but getting 20 points from Griffin played a huge role in their big come-from-behind victory. Jeff Green also chipped in 15 points.
Brooklyn trailed by as many as 21 in the game, but with this victory became the top team in the league to come back from a 10+ point deficit. They had the lead once in the first quarter when they made their first three, and didn’t have it again until it was 111-110 in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Durant came up big in the fourth, for sure, scoring 14 points including a bunch of clutch free throws in the last couple of minutes in the game.
It was a hard-fought game, which came down to the final two minutes. The Nets lead 120-119 with 1:30 left in the game. The score was still the same with 21.6 seconds in the game, when Nikola Jokic had a chance to take the lead but missed on a close hook that he almost always makes.
Even though the Nets came up with a 125-119 win, they clearly need James Harden to come back at close to his peak to make a sustained run in the playoffs. They won by six points but had to get there by shooting 62.1% in the game and 51.6% from the three point line. They also made 27 of 33 free throws.
You can’t rely only on consistently shooting like that in the playoffs, when defenses are more keyed in and you’re playing the same team for up to seven-straight games.
A lot of credit has to go to Brooklyn’s bench players, who actually started the big the run in the fourth quarter when Irving and Durant were on the bench.
The Nets had to dig deep to get out of the hole they found themselves in today, and credit goes to them for sticking it out. A lot of things had to go right too, including Griffin’s good scoring, and KD and Kyrie shooting 67% and 64% while still taking close to half of the team’s shots (31 of 66). Let’s see if they can keep this up.
It was another display of the sheer firepower that the Nets possess, and with Harden around there is little doubt that they possess the best offense in the league. They’ve remind us about what two crazy scorers can do, and that’s without their best distributor and glue guy on the floor.
The victory is going to be big for their morale, and they’ve got winnable games in their final four of the season as they face Chicago (twice), San Antonio, and Cleveland to close out their schedule.
They’ll be hoping to close out the season on a 5-0 winning streak to hit a 48-24 record because they’re still neck-and-neck with the Milwaukee Bucks (43-24) for the second seed and home court advantage for the first two rounds.