Full disclosure, I had the Brooklyn Nets taking yet another road loss in Phoenix last night. Joe Johnson and his buzzerbeating floater in overtime had other plans.
Yes, he came to the Nets’ rescue once again, but the game’s bigger takeaway related to the absence of a fellow Brooklyn star.
Deron Williams left for good after an awkward landing led to a sprained left ankle, but the Nets still found a way to force overtime and land their first road win of the season. Without their wealth distributor, without their floor general, without their leader, Brooklyn showed even more heart than they did when they defeated the Miami Heat a few weeks back.
It may have only been a win against a Phoenix Suns team that probably has nothing but ping pong balls in its immediate future, but considering the circumstances the Nets faced going into and during the matchup, it turns out to be so much more.
It evolves into a season changer. This is a win that the team looks back at once they’ve finally hit their stride – and they will as the players continue to get a better feel for each other – and recognizes as the moment that things finally began to turn for the better.
There will be more speed bumps along the way. Tonight’s meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers projects to be just that without William, but that won’t take away from what Brooklyn accomplished without Williams, their heart and soul, on Friday night.
Maybe the sky isn’t falling in Nets-land after all — just Johnson’s heroic teardrop.