The Los Angeles Clippers rolled into New York last night to take on the Brooklyn Nets at the brand new Barclays Center before a sellout crowd of 17,732 and found out that the new-look Nets are nothing like the team that used to be called “The Clippers-East.”
The main focus going into the game was the point guard matchup of the top two point guards in the NBA, Deron Williams and Chris Paul, and a crazy thing happened when neither of them had a “great” game by their high standards but did control the tempo for their respective teams.
Williams finished with 11 points and eight assists and shot a mere 3-of-10 including going 1-of-5 from three-point range while Paul shot 5-of-11 for 14 points and dropped 9 dimes.
“It was a great defensive game for us,” Williams said. “We had a game plan on certain guys and we stuck to that . . .”We just tried to make things as hard as possible for him,” Williams continued. ”Paul was getting in the lane and able to dish in the first half to a lot of guys and we were kind of switching a little bit at the end and putting our big guys on him and just trying to make him finish. And he ended up turning the ball over a couple of times down the stretch, which was good for us because he does a great job taking care of the ball.”
Paul admitted his play wasn’t top notch and expressed those feelings after the game. “Everybody knows what their role is. We’ve got to do better, and that starts with me.” said Paul
With the Clippers down by one point late in the game Paul had a bad turnover when he was called for an offensive foul on Williams. He spoke about those turnovers in the post game . “It was timely turnovers too,” Paul said. “In the second half, we were turning it over bad and good teams execute on the road down the stretch,”
Brook Lopez stole the show and led all scorers with 26 points on 13-of-24 shooting, pulled down five rebounds and blocked three shots while being super aggressive all game. Lopez credited his teammates for his good play, “My guys are giving me good looks around the basket where I can take one dribble and go up and dunk it. I am getting a lot of easy looks thanks to them.”
Avery Johnson spoke highly of his big man after the game, “Brook is a skilled big man. Maybe the rebounds aren’t where they should be, but he’s blocking shots.” Johnson compared Lopez to Rik Smits but with better defense and that is a great comparison now that Lopez has new found aggressiveness.
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