By: Jordan Patton
By: Jordan Patton
What a trip! Following six straight road games (with the All-Star break and a separate road game before them), the Brooklyn Nets are finally back at the Barclays Center. The road trip concluded on Saturday night in Milwaukee where the Nets took care of the Bucks 107-98, marking their fourth win of the six game trip. Aside from their disastrous performance in Portland (a 124-80 defeat), the Nets should be extremely proud of the way they performed over the 11-day trip.
The circus road trip got off to a great start in Utah, the former home of Nets PG Deron Williams, with a 105-99 win over the Jazz. Joe Johnson led the way for Brooklyn with 27 points and Deron Williams looked great for the first time in a long while with 19 points and seven assists. The victory marked Deron Williams’ first win in Utah since being traded to the Nets in 2011.
Three days later, the Nets found themselves in Oakland for a battle with the Golden State Warriors. Neither team looked particularly great as the Nets got absolutely torched by Jermaine O’Neal (yes, I said Jermaine O’Neal) and the Warriors shooters just couldn’t seem to get anything going. The game seemed to be there for the taking for the Nets until a Steph Curry bank three-point shot sealed the victory for the Warriors and marked the first loss of the Nets road trip.
The next game wasn’t the most entertaining as the Nets handled the Lakers for the most part, however, this was in no way an insignificant game. The Nets made history by signing Jason Collins, making him the first openly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL). Collins entered the game to a loud ovation at the Staples Center in a truly touching moment.
The following game for the Nets isn’t really worthy of a recap, as the team just didn’t even bother to show up for the game. Portland completely dominated the Nets from the opening tip, even without their all-star center LaMarcus Aldridge. The only bright spot in the game was the first appearance of the Nets’ new acquisition, Marcus Thornton. Thornton was originally slated to play against the Warriors but he unfortunately had a tough bout with food poisoning after some bad lobster mac-n-cheese. Yikes.
The Nets looked to bounce back from their embarrassment in Portland with a win against a depleted Nuggets team in Denver, and bounce back they did. The Nets held the Nuggets to just eight points in the first quarter en route to a 112-89 final. While I would like to credit the Nets with a dominating defensive performance, the Nuggets really just could not seem to get anything going at any point and continually missed layups, dunks, and open shots. Despite Denver’s struggles, you can’t deny the incredible effort of the Nets to bounce back so strongly after their disastrous trip to Portland.
The sixth and final game of the Nets circus road trip pitted the Nets against the dreadful Bucks in Milwaukee. As much as I would like to say that the Nets took care of business and dominated a bad team, that wasn’t the case – this game was close up until the final minutes. The Nets ultimately took care of business behind Marcus Thornton’s game-high 25 points. Thornton played incredibly well and shot the lights out from three-point-land as he produced exactly what the Nets hoped he would – points and energy off the bench.
With the post-all-star resurgence of Deron Williams and some savvy trade deadline moves, the Nets look to be poised to make some noise in the eastern conference down the stretch of the season. It will be interesting to see if Williams can keep up his raised level of play for the rest of the season; it’s not a stretch to say that the Nets’ playoff hopes rest on his shoulders (and ankles).