Boy things are happening so quickly in the NBA right now, I can barely keep up. Just as I send the Toronto Raptors recap out with the Chicago Bulls being tied for the number three seed in the Leastern Conference, the Bulls get run out the gym by the Portland Trailblazers 91-74. The Bulls lose the third seed and drop to the fourth seed. Oh, you think it’s over? Well the conference’s other red hot team is right BEHIND the Bulls in 5th place only one game back in the loss column. Look for the three lessons learned for the Portland TrailBlazers game real soon but let’s break down what Brooklyn has done to get back in the playoff chase.
Brooklyn Nets (#5 seed) as of this writing going into Fri. One game back in the loss column behind the Bulls (2-2)
The wins…Brooklyn beats the Boston Celtics 114-98 and the Dallas Mavericks 107-104.
The Chicago Bulls are in a lot of trouble Pippen Peoples. You see the Brooklyn Nets do something better than the Bulls these days. Win at home. When the Nets beat the Boston Celtics 114-98, it marked the Nets 11th straight win at the Barclays Center. Want more? Brooklyn has won 18 of their last 20 at home including three straight. The Nets improved their record to 29-10 in 2014 which is the best in the conference. Joe Johnson knocked down six three-point shots on his way to a team high 27 points. He put up 16 of those in the 3rd quarter to put this to bed. I have a question, Who in the world is this guy in Mason Plumlee’s body. This is not the guy I watched in a Duke Blue Devil uniform. He scored 18 points to continue his great play since Kevin Garnett has been sidelined. Former Boston Celtic Paul Pierce finished with 14 points. It wasn’t all Joe Johnson long distance bombs that did in the Celtics, the Nets scored a season high 62 points in the paint. The Nets bench destroyed the Celtics bench 45-21.
The Brooklyn Nets are amazing these days at home, but they struggle on the road. They found a way to come back from a 14 point deficit in the first and third quarters to defeat the Dallas Mavericks on the road 107-104. On Jason Kidd’s 41st birthday, Marcus Thornton scored 11 of his 20 points in the 4th quarter to give the Nets a huge lift. If you look back at “Trade Away Tuesday” the Bulls stayed pat and now Thornton, who was a low-level deal by NBA standards has made an impact for the Nets since he got to Brooklyn. Monta Ellis scored 32 points in the game but Dirk Nowitzki had a rough night with 10. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 22. Shaun Livingston and Paul Pierce had 15 apiece.
The losses-Brooklyn Loses to the New Orleans Pelicans 109-104 and the Charlotte Bobcats 116-111.
Remember the last paragraph Pippen Peoples? The Brooklyn Nets struggle on the road. The Nets blew a 22 point lead in the third quarter to lose to the Pelicans 109-104 in overtime. Tyreke Evans went absolutely nuts scoring 22 of his 33 points in the second half. Anthony Morrow hit two big three-point shots late to put things away after not scoring until the final two minutes of regulation. I can’t lie, I am biased towards Anthony Morrow. I met him this past summer at his summer league tournament and he’s a great guy. I have one of the league jerseys that I really appreciate. But let me tell you something, this guy is in the league for a reason…He can flat-out shoot the ball. Brooklyn lost their winning streak and the lingering effect of losing on the road lingered until…
They got to Charlotte. The Nets watched Al Jefferson just take ownership that Jay-Z sold back to the Nets to start his sports agency. Jefferson went off for 35 points and 15 rebounds as the Charlotte Bobcats who are in the seventh seed beat Brooklyn 116-111 in overtime. If you are counting, the Nets went to overtime three times in a row. Against the Bobcats it showed. The Bobcats wore them down in the paint. The Bulls might want to pay attention here. The Bulls play physical and no player in the Eastern conference plays as physical as Jefferson these days. Kemba Walker had 20 points and 12 assists in a break out season for him. Deron Williams scored 29 points, 18 in the first quarter. Joe Johnson finished with 18.
The Chicago Bulls have to keep pace but the Nets are playing better as a team. After dealing with all the injuries and finding a chemistry that works, the Nets are a better team than the laughingstock bunch at the beginning of the year. When Shaun Livingston took over the point guard duties for Brooklyn, everything changed. He is so tall and long he is a nightmare matchup for teams. Deron Williams is a score first point guard anyway so it made sense to move him to the two guard spot. The Nets have made adjustments to get where they are. Have the Bulls done enough?
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