Today’s game was the perfect example of the fact that one player is not enough to come through in a closed game.
Despite the fact that Paul Pierce has his best outing in years (definitively his most effective game since joining the Brooklyn Nets), the lack of defense in the clutch moments of the game ultimately caused them to drop the contest against the Washington Wizards, who stole a win 113-107 on the road.
The loss can’t be put over Pierce shoulders though. The former Boston Celtics star came off the bench — a tendency that has been repeated since he came back from the injury — and delivered throughout the game, leading the second unit and stepping his game up every time the Nets needed him on both ends of the court. Pierce finished the game with 27 points and six rebounds, shooting a spectacular 10-of-12 from the floor in over 35 minutes of action.
Sadly for the Nets fans, the team wasn’t able to match up Pierce’s performance. Even though Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez ended with 20+ points each, they couldn’t deliver in crunch time as the Wizards were simply too much for the Nets defense to handle. Marcin Gortat and Nené dominated inside while Bradley Beal and John Wall were unstoppable in the perimeter, meaning that the Wizards always had the upper hand in the contest.
The Nets are slowly turning things around after a very slow start to the season, and performances like the one from Pierce today are certainly a step in the right direction. In order to win close games, the whole team needs to step it up on both sides of the court — if not, Brooklyn will keep dropping close games and will continue to fall out of the playoff picture as the season progresses.