The Brooklyn Nets have defeated the Houston Rockets 120-108. The Nets improve to 33-15, good for 1st in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, the Rockets fall to 13-34, good for 14th in the Western Conference. This marks the first time since April 2003 the Nets are the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference. The win also ties the Nets best month in franchise history, going 11-2.
Facing arguably the worst team in the NBA, the Nets did not get off to the start you would have hoped for. Danuel House was torching the Nets early, scoring Houston’s first 9 points, carrying them to an early 9-2 lead. The Rockets continued hitting shot after shot, forcing Steve Nash to call a timeout at the 8:09 mark of the first quarter with Brooklyn down 18-6. The Rockets could not miss, shooting 5 for 5 from 3, extending their lead to 24-6. Kyrie Irving was the spark plug for the Nets in the first, doing his best to keep the team within striking distance. Irving led Brooklyn with 12 points in the quarter. For the quarter, Houston ended up shooting 15 for 19 from the field, 79% and 7 for 9 from 3, 78%. At the end of the quarter, the Rockets led 42-29.
After Brooklyn cut their deficit to 10 early in the second quarter, Houston went on a 7-0 run to make their lead 51-34. Following this, Nicolas Claxton finally entered the game and was the spark on both ends of the floor the Nets were looking for. In his 9 minutes in the half, he had 6 points and 3 rebounds, and was a +6. Although the Nets effort and defense was slightly better in the second quarter, the Rockets hot shooting was too much to handle. In the half, Houston ended up shooting 60% from the field, 24 for 40. Finally, Houston led 68-57 at halftime.
For the Nets to take control of the game and win, they will need to play better defense and not allow the second worst team in the NBA shoot 60% from the field in a half. Furthermore, they will need to shoot better from 3 point range, as Brooklyn only shot 4 for 18, 22%, in the first half.
The Nets effort and hustle was much better coming into the second half. They were able cut their 11 point deficit to 6 early in the third quarter. Brooklyn continued to cut into their deficit throughout the third, going an 11-0 run to make the score 82-81 with Houston still leading. The Nets took a lead right at the end of the quarter off a Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot 3 pointer. At the end of the quarter, the Rockets led 87-86.
James Harden left the game during the third quarter with a right hamstring strain and he would not return. Without Harden the rest of the game or Irving on the floor to start the fourth quarter, the Nets had to rely on the other guys to keep the Nets in the game until Irving reentered the game. The Nets went on a 10-0 run midway through the quarter to take a 105-101 lead, including back to back Joe Harris and Blake Griffin 3 pointers. Claxton and Griffin’s impact on the defensive end was also crucial to finishing off this game. Brooklyn continued to separate themselves from Houston, going up by as much as 15. Overall, Brooklyn ended the game on a 25-7 run after being down 101-95. This gave Brooklyn a 120-108 win.
Upcoming Game for the Nets
Brooklyn is playing tomorrow on the second night of a back to back. On Thursday, the Nets will take on the Charlotte Hornets at the Barclays Center. The game will start at 7:30 PM EST and of course, will be broadcasted on the YES Network. The game will also be nationally broadcasted on TNT.
Performances of Note
Kyrie Irving – 31 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, 12-25 FG, 3-8 3PT, 4-4 FT, 39 minutes
Joe Harris – 28 points, 6 rebounds, 10-17 FG, 7-12 3PT, 37 minutes
James Harden – 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 5-10 FG, 0-3 3PT, 7-7 FT, 27 minutes
Nicolas Claxton – 12 points, 8 rebounds, 6-7 FG, 21 minutes
Kevin Porter Jr. – 20 points, 6 assists, 9-16 FG, 2-6 3PT, 31 minutes
Danuel House – 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 4-6 FT, 30 minutes
Christian Wood – 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks, 4-12 FG, 1-5 3PT, 5-6 FT, 35 minutes
Kelly Olynyk – 14 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 5-7 FG, 4-4 FT, 25 minutes