As Brooklyn Nets fans have grown accustomed to this season, one side completely ran away with last night’s game.
Only this time it was their guys who were dishing out the pain, putting the Los Angeles Clippers on the losing end of 102-93 final. Call it an early Christmas gift headlined by offensive and defensive execution that was a wake-up call for the rest of the league: Don’t write off this team’s championship hopes just yet.
Everything clicked and then some for Jason Kidd’s Nets on Thursday night, although a lot of the country probably didn’t stick around to watch it unfold after a 13-point first quarter deficit only foreshadowed another Brooklyn beat-down.
A 12 point second quarter by Deron Williams excused an opening period performance where he might as well have been on the bench in street clothes still. From that point forward, Brooklyn spread its wings and took flight.
Even though Joe Johnson matched his 21 point output, Andray Blatche and his devastating outside jumper turned out to be the Nets’ marquee performer of the night.
But amongst all the offensive exhilaration taking place, it was Brooklyn’s unexpected defensive domination that had to be the most encouraging sight.
After starting hot, the Nets held Chris Paul to just 20 points all night. Blake Griffin was just as ineffective with only 12 points of his own. As a matter of fact, the only two Clippers who didn’t turn up negatives in the plus-minus column were Ryan Hollins and Byron Mullens, who turned out to be garbage time contributors.
Brooklyn’s defense was downright unstoppable, and when they commit like that and move the ball the way they did offensively they prove they can play with the best of them.
Which is exactly what the Clippers, who have the fourth-best record in the West, are. Riding a three-game win streak, the Nets are easily playing their best basketball of the season. And as it continues to get even better, people will begin to remember what all the offseason hype really was about.