Nets Win Fifth Straight at Home And Close in on the Playoffs

Rapid Reaction: Nets vs. Trail Blazers

Lenn Robbins recaps the Nets' 106-96 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Rapid Reaction: Nets vs. Trail Blazers

Lenn Robbins recaps the Nets' 106-96 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Apr 6, 2015  |  01:01

Young with the Dunk

Thaddeus Young with the one handed dunk against the Trail Blazers.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:23

Deron to Brook and One

Deron Williams sets up play and passes to Brook Lopez with the foul and one.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:11

Williams Dazzles

Deron Williams shakes his defender and drives for two.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:22

Lopez vs. Lopez

Brook Lopez drives on brother Robin, spinning in the lane and sinking the lay-up.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:17

Young Throws Down

Thaddeus Young draws the foul as he hammers home the two-handed jam.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:27

Fouled in Transition

Bojan Bogdanovic gets the lay-up to fall as he draws the foul.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:20

Johnson to Lopez

Joe Johnson dishes the no-look pass to Brook Lopez who pump fakes and gets the lay-up to go.
Apr 6, 2015  |  00:19

 

BROOKLYN – The not-so-perfect storm gave the Brooklyn Nets a perfect playoff opportunity on Monday night.

Winter storm ‘Juno,’ which threatened to shut down the metropolitan area on Jan. 26th, forced the NBA to postpone the Nets’ scheduled home against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Juno turned out to be the winter storm version of Coke Classic, but the Nets certainly won’t apologize for the chance they got Monday night in Barclays Center.

With the rest of the NBA idle, the Nets beat the shorthanded, road-weary Trail Blazers, 106-96, giving Brooklyn breathing room in their quest to make the playoffs for a third straight year.

The Nets improved to 36-41, opening a one-game lead over the Boston Celtics (35-42) for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, and a two-game lead over the Miami Heat (34-43) and Indiana Pacers (34-43).

“We’re trying to close the door on those other teams and the only way to do that is winning,’’ said Nets Coach Lionel Hollins.

The win moves the Nets (34-40) into a tie with the Miami Heat (34-40) for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics (34-41) are a half game back.

It was the Nets’ fifth straight win in Barclays Center, and their 11th in the last 14 games. Portland (50-27) was forced to fly cross-country on Sunday night and return home following the game. They did not bring LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman.

For all the grief Mother Nature has given New Yorkers these last two brutal winters, she gave the Nets Juno. Perfect.

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KEY STRETCH: The Nets entered the second quarter trailing 25-22. The second quarter has not been good to the Nets but on this night the Nets used a 32-13 surge to take a 54-38 halftime lead. It was their biggest second-quarter advantage of the season.

KEY PLAY: Deron Williams and Bojan Bogdanovic drained back-to-back three-pointers in a 47-second span as the Nets pushed a 39-33 lead to a 45-33 advantage.

NETS GAINS: Brook Lopez became the first Nets player in team history, and first NBA player this season to be named Player of the Week in his conference for two consecutive weeks. He continued his outstanding play, scoring 32 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking one shot.

NETS GAINS II: Lopez has rightfully gotten a lot of credit for the Nets recent run but Deron Williams turned in another exceptional game. Williams scored 24 points, had 10 assists and grabbed six rebounds. He’s averaged 20.4 points, 8.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds in the last five games.

KEY STAT: Ever since the Nets acquired Thaddeus Young from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Garnett, they have become one of the top teams in the league in points in the paint. Monday night was no exception as the Nets outscored the Trail Blazers 48-24 in the paint as they took a 22-point lead. They outscored the Trail Blazers 54-44 inside for the game.

TALK: “I just think with Brook and Deron, they’ve both gotten healthier,’’ said Coach Lionel Hollins. “As the season’s gone on they’ve gotten more confidence in what they can and can’t do.’’

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