Recap: Nets 102, Wizards 80
Less than 24 hours ago it seemed that Brook Lopez was on his way out of Brooklyn. Multiple media outlets reported that the framework was in place for a 3-team deal that would send Lopez to Oklahoma City. Fortunately for the Nets, Billy King chose to sleep on the deal before signing the dotted line.
As soon as King shut his eyeballs, everything changed. King slept like a baby, and while he slept he dreamt. In his dreams a hulkish, curly-headed specter appeared. He spoke slowly, jovially and added intermittent wookie howls. He swore to King that things would turn around. He begged for one more game and promised to prove his worth. He was Brook Lopez, and boy did he make good on his promise.
The Nets had played a solid 1st half, containing the Wizards uber-talented backcourt and holding a 3-point lead. But this wasn’t uncharted territory for the Nets. So many times before had they played solid in the first half only to fold for the remainder of the game. Game after game they lacked someone who could put the team on their back and build up a lead rather than watch things burn.
Tonight Brook Lopez was the player the Nets have needed. The player who they have been waiting for all season. The player who can make a dizzying array of crafty shots from any spot within the three point line. The player who can singlehandedly propel his squad to a win over elite NBA teams. The player who, when on his game, should bring back much more in a trade than Jeremy Lamb and Kendrick Perkins.
With that being said, this Nets 102-80 win was due to more than just Lopez’s dominant outing. However, after a day full of speculation and uncertainty about his career, Brook’s 25 second half points to halt the Nets’ 7-game losing streak are more than worthy of being the story.
“Famous Last Words”
In lieu of player grades, I am going to borrow a concept used by Jason Lloyd, a Cleveland Cavalier beat writer whose work I greatly respect and enjoy. After each game he makes a list of random nuggets that he gathered throughout the game. His column has been penned his “Final Thoughts”, I’ll call mine my “Famous Last Words”.
1) While Kevin Garnett rarely plays over 20 minutes, he always seems to have a positive impact in some way; whether it be on-point passes, altering shots, or just making smart reads on either end.
2) As KG ages it’s easy to forget how truly skilled of a player he was and still is.
3) I certainly didn’t go into tonight’s game expecting Jarrett Jack (26 pts.) to outscore Washington’s young duo of electric guards. John Wall and Bradley beal combined for just 20 points on 18 shots.
4) The Nets’ defense tonight did an excellent job at keeping John Wall out of the paint. The Nets typically struggle with guards that have the type of athleticism that he possesses, so it was encouraging to see them be up to the task defensively.
5) Brook Lo-witzki?
6) The Nets television broadcast is super enjoyable. Ian Eagle is so skilled at his job.
7) I enjoyed this nugget from Devin Kharpertian (@uuords on Twitter): Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez outscored the Wizards in the 2nd half by themselves, 44-40.
8) I don’t think I would have the mental wherewithal that Brook Lopez did, to compete at such a high level after my employer repeatedly tried to get rid of me. I gained a ton of respect for him tonight.
9) This was definitely the most fun I have had in covering a Nets game this season. Hopefully they can start a winning streak, as they look to make it 2 in a row tomorrow night at home in a rematch against the Wizards.