Well, just when you thought this team was getting healthy, they get hit with a huge loss. All-Star Center Brook Lopez has suffered another broken left foot. It’s the 2nd time he’s broken it in 3 years, and will have his 3rd surgery on it in that span. It’s a big blow, as the 25-year-old Lopez was averaging career-highs in points, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. He also ranked seventh in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating. The Nets are just 2-7 this season with their big man out of the lineup. Now this means the depth will be tested, with guys like Reggie Evans, who’d been out of rotation, to get minutes. Thoughts are Brooklyn could go out and make a trade for Houston Rockets back-up Omer Asik, but with no first round picks for the next 6 years, that’s not likely. So now it’s time for guys like Kevin Garnett and Andray Blatche to step up, and Deron Wiliams to play with pride and lead this team to the playoffs without their security blanket down low. It’s still very possible in the weak Eastern Conference, but their dreams of a Championship are most likely over.
So with all that being said, let’s look at the week that was for the Nets, before the Lopez injury.
Game 24: vs Philadelphia
The week started off very well for the Nets, easily handling the Philadelphia 76ers at home 130-94, and without Brook Lopez, who was out then with a sprained ankle. It was a wire-to-wire win, that was sparked by a 20-7 run to start the game. It was just a 10 point lead at the half for Brooklyn.
But the story of the game, was the ridiculous 3rd quarter Joe Johnson put up. 29 points is a lot for this team to score int he 3rd quarter, their Achilles heel, so when Johnson scored 29 himself, it was a sight to see. Brooklyn’s shooting-guard finished with a season high 37, hitting on 10-14 from 3. He would’ve challenged the NBA record of 12, but there was no need for him to play at all in the 4th quarter.
6 Nets finished in double figures, a season high 35 assists in a game they shot 60% from the field and from 3. The team hit a franchise record 21 shots from behind the arc, with Shaun Livingston hitting the record breaker, and he’s not known for his shot behind the arc.
- Joe Johnson easily led all scorers with 37, Mason Plumlee pulled down 8 boards off the bench and Deron Williams with a season high 13 assists in a double-double performance.
W Sixers 94 – Nets 130
Game 25: vs Washington
They were outplayed by a younger, quicker team. Plain and simple.
3 Nets scored 20+ including a season high 27 from Paul Pierce. But 7 Wizards finished in double figures, and they out-rebounded Brooklyn 51-31. Deeper into that number was the 23 second-chance points the Wizards scored to the Nets 3.
They couldn’t stop them, especially from 3 and when they did stop Washington, they weren’t fighting off the glass, and you can’t do that. Not at home and not when you’re many games under .500 in a season that had Championship aspirations. You can’t do it ever.
- Paul Pierce led all scorers with 27, Joe Johnson had a team high 7 rebounds and Deron Williams with his 2nd 13 assist game.
L Wizards 113 – Nets 107
Game 26: @ Philadelphia
There was revenge on the minds of the Sixers, and the Nets let them go through with it. It was close throughout, though Brooklyn looked like they were going to pull away late. The game featured 31 lead changes and 21 ties. Both teams made a number of big shots, especially in overtime.
The Nets had no answer in the paint, with Philly outscoring them 66-30. It’s believed Brook Lopez suffered his injury in the 3rd quarter and kept playing, but he wasn’t his usual self in the first half of the game. Brooklyn had their chances to score in the paint, but missed a lot of open looks. The Sixers didn’t, and Evan Turner ‘s game winner came in the paint, as time expired in the overtime.
Paul Pierce had another good game, his first double-double of the year, but Brooklyn missed Joe Johnson, who was away from the team for personal reasons, and Kevin Garnett was resting.
- Alan Anderson had a big game, leading the way with 26 points, Pierce pulled down 10 boards and the point guards were just that, on point. Deron Williams 3rd straight double figure assist total at 14, a new season high, and Shaun Livingston added another 11.
L Nets 120 – Sixers 121
So it’s time to move on without Brook Lopez, who is officially out for the season. And it comes before a tough Holiday week of games. It starts tonight at home against the Pacers. Then it’s a rematch of the playoffs when the Bulls come to Brooklyn on Christmas Day. Then it’s a back-to-back on the road against Milwaukee on Friday and they finish it up Saturday night in Indiana.