Maybe it was the fact that they were facing the Boston Celtics, a team that like it or not will be forever connected to this edition of the Brooklyn Nets as long as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are on this team. Both of them weren’t very special in a rare win for the Nets, but the ability of Brook Lopez and Deron Williams, the two most important players on this team, was enough to have Jason Kidd and the rest of this weird team built with a huge and expensive payroll to smile for once.
It’s been some time since the Nets had a full lineup at their disposal. The Boston Celtics have been one of the more enjoyable teams to watch over the last couple of weeks, with smart ball movement and good team defense to make up for their lack of talent. But in the NBA, at some point, that deficiency hits a road block. Despite Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce being way over the hill, the Nets still have enough talent to do a lot better than they have so far (7-14), led by their two stars to a 104-96 win.
Deron Williams looked like no ankle or anything else was bothering him, making the Celtics’ backcourt look quite inferior, as it looked like the Celtics were almost stunned by the intensity shown by the Nets right from the start. Williams finished with 25 points and 7 assists. He went only 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, but was a perfect 9-for-9 when shooting from 2, having no problem slicing through the Celtics defense or hitting the open jumpers presented to him.
Why? Because Brook Lopez had an even easier time with the no-center look provided by the Celtics, letting Vitor Faverani play for only four minutes. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger had no chance of being ample opposition to Lopez, scoring 24 points on 10-of-13 from the field.
Paul Pierce came off the bench to score only 4 points against the team he led and won a championship with. Kevin Garnett was a lot more influential in the game, finally scoring in double figures (11 points) and adding 9 boards, feeling a lot better than he usually does, probably because of the very weak frontcourt he had to deal with, not making him feel like an old man who is probably someone who shouldn’t be starting for a team like the Nets.
And maybe it was seeing Boston and green, and Rajon Rondo who he hugged before the game. Ray Allen is Judas to Pierce and Garnett, yet they had no problem leaving when it felt like it was time to go. They probably knew what they were doing, although it hasn’t really been working out for them. Maybe with a healthy Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, they’ll look like smart men making smart decisions again.
Paul Pierce: D-Will set the tone for how we were going to play tonight. He’s the head of the snake. I mean he’s one of the most important pieces of what we’re trying to do here, what we’re trying to build and trying to win a championship.