Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM
By Ben Couch
PHOENIX—Sunday at US Airways Center, the Nets recovered in the fourth to fend off the Suns, 102-100. Brook Lopez led the team with 21 points; Reggie Evans, with 10 rebounds. Kris Humphries has added 17 points and 8 boards off the bench. With Joe Johnson (right quad contusion) out and Keith Bogans starting, Deron Williams (8-15 FGs) posted 20 points and 11 assists.
- 10:36 – After a long rebound, Gerald Wallace takes off on the break, hits a trailing C.J. Watson on the wing for three, and we're tied up.
- 7:04 – Kendall Marshall checks out after a successful relief stint. Dragic re-enters with a two-point lead and just more than half a quarter to go ...
- 6:15 – Four straight free throws from C.J. Watson put the Nets back on top, and Brooklyn continues to get productive minutes out of the Watson/Williams combo tonight. That said, Goran Dragic is up to 20 points (7-15 FGs), eight rebounds and 12 assists. He's a good player, that guy.
- 5:37 – Pretty drive-and-dish from Deron to Keith Bogans in the corner. But the three doesn't go down.
- 5:05 – Next possession, D-Will just pulls the trigger himself in transition. Bottoms.
- 4:32 – Kris Humphries clears the defender with a pump fake, but them clanks the power dunk attempt off the back rim. Suns end up with free throws. Make both. Big swing.
- 4:14 – But Lopez scores on a postup. That'll do.
- 3:26 – Humphries splits two defenders and finishes a layup+1. Redemption.
- 3:15 – Goran Dragic is having a GAME. He's added another nine points, and is a rebound away from the triple-double. Regardless of the outcome: Hats off.
- 2:37 – C.J Watson and Gerald Wallace successfully trap Dragic at halfcourt, except Watson loses his balance and the Suns keep passing until Luis Scola cuts to the rim for a layup. That kind of night for the Nets, and yet they remain on top.
- 0:33 – Following a Suns stop, a pick and roll ends with a perfect lob from Dragic to Scola, who rims out on the layup. But Phoenix gets two offensive boards and resets with a timeout. With Brooklyn holding a two-point lead, a stop here leads to sealing it at the free-throw line.
- 0:26 – Dragic breaks around another Scola screen, explodes to the rim but must shoot over a vertical contest by Brook Lopez, who uses every one of his 85 inches to force Dragic's floater ever higher. It hits front rim, Reggie Evans rebounds it and calls time. Inbounds and any score, and this is a wrap ...
- 0:14 – A clean inbounds to Deron ends up with Gerald Wallace being fouled. He misses the first, hits the second. Chance to tie for Phoenix.
- 0:06 – Dragic posts Deron, opts for the quick two. C.J. Watson at the line for the Nets, he hits both.
- 0:00 – A last chance for the Suns, but Williams fouls Dragic to prevent a three-point attempt. He hits the first, intentionally misses the second and Hamed Haddadi's putback attempt is no good. Close one.
- 11:36 – First possession of the third, and the Suns get an offensive rebound (bad), but Deron intercepts a pass (good). Doesn't look like the Suns can keep pace tonight.
- 10:11 – After back-to-back makes by Deron Williams, the Suns call timeout. They run an inbounds play, and Brook cleanly blocks Markieff Morris. Take Two.
- 8:32 – Great inbounds pass by Gerald Wallace, who hits a streaking Deron in stride as he crosses halfcourt. Williams' momentum carries him right to the cup for a scoop layup and his .
- 5:48 – Deron turnover and foul, followed by him seeming to indicate something about spacing to Brook and Reggie Evans. Something to track the rest of the way.
- 4:38 – A Goran Dragic jump pass just bounced through Hamed Haddadi's legs, dribbles harmlessly out of bounds. That was ... special.
- 3:48 – Driving layup by Dragic, then a dish to P.J. Tucker for a layup and the SUns have cut a 12-point halftime lead to six.
- 1:14 – With the game getting close, Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries scored six straight to keep the Nets on top. Deron breaks through with a three, and it's back out to four.
- 1:00 – ... Until Wes Johnson hits his second three of the last 60 seconds. Suns within one.
- 0:08 – A third triple for Wes, and the Suns take the lead. Whoa!
After a back-and-forth opening period, the Nets opened the lead midway through the second, when the Suns went cold for several minutes. Scoring has been balanced for Brooklyn: eight of the nine players to check in have scored, with Kris Humphries notably chipping in big numbers off the bench.
At times, the Nets have exploited their advantage on the interior, with Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche each confounding Suns defenders in the painted area. Lopez has been particularly effective in the pick and roll, attacking the rim at every opportunity; Blatche's points have come off postups.
Phoenix guard Goran Dragic has tried his best to facilitate for the Suns, racking up 10 points, five rebounds and seven assists. "The Dragon" is well on his way to a sixth-straight night of double-digit dishes, and his relentless drives to the rim may wear down the Nets' perimeter defense.
- 10:32 – Andray Blatche with his second score this quarter. He's got quite a few up-and-under moves.
- 8:31 – Keith Bogans: "D and 3." All day, every day.
- 3:47 – Brook Lopez gets tagged for a three-second violation. Can't remember the last time that happened this season.
- 2:39 – Next trip down, Brook rolls to the rim for a scoop. Buckets.
- 2:09 – Lather up that pick and roll: Nets just rinse and repeat with Brook.
- 11:03 – With Joe Johnson out, the Nets' first bucket omes on a textbook pick-and-roll dish from Deron Williams to Brook Lopez. With Marcin Gortat, Jermaine O'Neal and Channing Frye all out tonight, expect many more of those.
- 9:44– Even with Keith Bogans starting, D-Will is guarding Goran Dragic rather than cross-matching against Wes Johnson. If "The Dragon" draws fouls at his normal rate, I bet that changes. Working so far, though.
- 9:33 – Brook is rolling straight to the rim on everything. Team must've focused on that in the breakfast meeting today.
- 7:21– Two straight buckets for P.J. Tucker, who's the only Sun that seems ready to go two ways here.
- 5:45 – Brook's hook stuffed by 7-foot-2 center Hamed Haddadi, one of the few NBA players taller than Brook (7-1). Safe to say no one was expecting that. Haddadi included.
- 5:24 – Reggie in early foul trouble, and again checks in Kris Humphries. Two games in a row is the start of a trend ...
- 3:01 –Hump just threw down the Nets second(!) alley-oop of the quarter. That's been a missing element much of the year. Transition has been a much bigger weapon ever since D-Will got healthy over All-Star Weekend.
- 0:26 – P.J. Tucker scores the Suns' final bucket of the period on a driving layup, fitting considering the Suns have now made 10 of their 11 baskets ( 24 attempts) inside the paint.
Brooklyn Nets (41-29)
|G · Deron Williams||G · Keith Bogans||F · Gerald Wallace||F · Reggie Evans||C · Brook Lopez|
Joe Johnson (right quad contusion) is OUT.
Phoenix Suns (23-48)
|G · Goran Dragic||G · Wesley Johnson||F · P.J. Tucker||F · Markieff Morris||C · Luis Scola|
Channing Frye (enlarged heart) is OUT.
Marcin Gortat (Lisfranc sprain, right foot) is OUT.
For more, view the Game Photo Gallery
|20 PTS, 11 AST, 2 STL
8-15 FGs, 2-4 FTs
|17 PTS, 8 REB
6-12 FGs, 5-5 FTs
|On his approach:
"Just rebound. No matter if there was a cross-matchup or somebody looked like they were gonna get it. By any means necessary to get a rebound. That was my whole mindframe: If they miss it, go to clean it up."