Humphries Has Second Chance, Gaines Gets Encore
March 9th, 2011
NEWARK, N.J.—With Deron Williams home tending to his newborn son, Brook Lopez (26 points, 10 rebounds) spurred the Nets to a 94-90 comeback victory over the Golden State Warriors. The triumph marks the Nets’ first three-game winning streak since February of 2009 and completes a 2-5 road trip for the Warriors. David Lee (17 points, 10 rebounds) was Golden State’s leading scorer and its most efficient player.
For more, read Jake Appleman's recap on NBA.com: Click Here
Humphries Has Second Chance, Gaines Gets Encore
Kris Humphries had, by most measures, blown it.
With the Nets trailing the Warriors by two points at Prudential Center on Wednesday, 3 ½ minutes from the finish, Humphries earned a trip to the line. And missed. Twice.
But less than 30 seconds later, in a scramble situation, Humphries vigorously swatted Dorell Wright’s layup, creating an opportunity that led to a bucket that pulled the Nets within one. It was the opening salvo in a game-ending 7-0 run by Brook Lopez (and the Nets) that earned the team a 94-90 victory against Golden State. The three-game win streak is the Nets’ first in more than two years, with the last part of a four-game run from Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009.
“I know those free throws bothered (Kris),” Lopez said. “You can always count on it affecting him in the right way. He’s not going to get bogged down by it. He’s not going to put his head down. He’s going to rush back and do something positive to make up for it.”
Humphries (11 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks) admitted as much afterward, and proved equally effusive in praising his teammate.
“(When) I got a block and then Brook came up with a ball that got loose and laid it in, I was just amped up for him,” Humphries said. “He was able to knock down some big free throws for us at the end. He’s really matured as a player, and he’s doing a great job of closing out games for us.”
The Nets’ center finished with a game-high 26 points, adding 10 rebounds – four offensive – to tally his second double-double in as many games, the first time this season Lopez has done so in back-to-back contests. Nets coach Avery Johnson termed it a “dominant” game for the third-year big, also praising him for active defense.
A team-wide effort helped the Nets hold the Warriors to just 94 points on .440 shooting, though they were 6-of-14 from three-point range, well below their season marks of 102.6 and .460, respectively. Starting guards Monta Ellis (7-22 FGs, 16 points) and Stephen Curry (6-15 FGs, 15 points) both struggled, with shooting guard Anthony Morrow (22 points, 4-6 3Ps) and backup point guard Sundiata Gaines earning kudos.
Gaines, signed to a 10-day contract 10 days ago, had already earned a second with crucial fourth-quarter play against the Raptors in London. Wednesday, he did more of the same, amassing five points (2-6 FGs), eight assists and three steals. Under control and helping to lock down Ellis, Gaines finished an astounding plus-21 in his 23 minutes, even contributing an offensive rebound – his only board – that allowed the Nets to drain an additional 18 seconds off the clock in the final minute.
“I just wanted to come in and bring energy,” Gaines said. “I felt we were lacking that in the beginning and (wanted to) try to get some easy baskets in transition. Once I got guys going we got back in the flow and started playing better. I think I had a solid game. A lot of things, I’ll learn from and get better at. Overall, it was a good experience to get that time.”
Starting point guard Jordan Farmar struggled with his shot (2-10 FGs, 0-5 3Ps), but racked up nine assists and four rebounds in 32 minutes subbing for Deron Williams, who was in Dallas for the birth of his fourth child (and second son), Desmond. Gaines’ defense left him at the helm in the final minutes, and Ellis missed the only shot he took during the final three-plus minutes as the Warriors went scoreless for the final 3:09.
The victory could be a crucial one for the Nets, proving they could build upon the momentum built by Williams’ play during the last five games, even without him on the floor. And no one knew it better than the coach.
“I was hopeful that we could carry it over,” Johnson said. “We were a little sloppy to start the game; I had to get a 20(-second timeout) somewhere there in the first quarter. But for the most part, looking at the guys during the timeout, they were really locked in. And some of the blocks that Humphries had, just coming out of nowhere – man, it really ignites our team and the energy level rises. I like what we did holding them to 13 points (in the fourth quarter). I know they missed some shots there, but some of it had to do with our defense.”
Sundiata Gaines, on finishing +21 in a four-point game:
“What is that? Is that phenomenal? I need to know the basketball terms: plus-minus. Ha. That’s good. But we won, though. That’s the main thing. I’m happy for that.”
Avery Johnson, on the defense:
“We felt if we couldn’t keep them under 100, we were going to have a hard time scoring 100 and that’s the way the game played out.”
Kris Humphries, on closing out the game:
"You close out a triple-overtime when you’re digging real deep in places you don’t even know to get some energy. A game like this is nothing comapared to that. I think we did a great job. We had some great play calls down the stretch, executed, came up with some loose balls that we needed. It worked out for us."
Avery, on Brandan Wright's first PT as a Net:
“Brandan Wright gave us a nice little six minutes there in the second half. I talked to the coaches about it at halftime, and they all voted for Wright. He got out there and did some nice thingsfor us on both ends of the floor.”
NETS NOTES From PR: "Deron and Amy (Williams) are very excited to welcome little Desmond into the world this afternoon. Baby and mom happy and healthy and are resting together at this time." .... Kris Humphries' double-double was his fifth in five games (15.6 PPG, 15.0 RPG), and a team-leading 21st overall ... The Nets had lost seven straight games to Golden State, their last victory coming on Dec. 22, 2007 ... Brandan Wright finished with 2 points and 2 rebounds in 6:05