Nets Defeat The Rockets 105-96 And Clinch A Playoff Spot • Latino Sports


Nets Defeat The Rockets 105-96 And Clinch A Playoff Spot


Brooklyn, NY – The start of the basketball year for the Brooklyn Nets could not have begun any worse. Especially with the moves they made in the off season.

Hiring ex-Net Jason Kidd (with no previous head coaching experience) and trading for aging stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. They were hoping Brook Lopez would continue to improve as one of the best offensive centers in the game. They added sharpshooter Andrei Kilrienko hoping the offense would thrive under Deron Williams.

Then they went out and lost 20 of their first 30 games. There were rumblings from the players about Kidd’s coaching style (remember Cola-Gate) and Kidd replaced assistant and defensive coach Lawrence Frank. Lopez was lost for the season December 20th with another broken foot and Williams had to take extended time off to once again rehab his ankles right before the All-Star break. Then the new year came in and it was like a new team was born.

When they faced the Houston Rockets at Barclays Center Tuesday night, they were in the midst of a 13 game home winning streak. Tying them for the longest streak in franchise history. At 29-12, they have the best record in the East since the start of January. Houston meanwhile, was without enigmatic center Dwight Howard with a bad ankle. They were looking to hold on to their current 4th place playoff spot only 2 1/2 games in front Portland.

Brooklyn jumped out to a 9 point lead (14-5) after a Joe Johnson jump shot. The Rockets closed the gap to 5 (25-20) when James Harden nailed a 3-pointer. Brooklyn took a 5 point lead (29-24) at the end of the quarter led by Johnson’s 11 points.

The Rockets came out of the gate to start the second outscoring the Nets 11-6 tying the score at 35. Williams 10th point gave Brooklyn a 7 point lead (52-45). Harden then gets fouled on his 3 point attempt converting all 3 free throws bringing Houston within 1 (52-51). Johnson then hits a floater (17 points) as time ran down giving the Nets a 54-51 halftime lead.

As hard as Brooklyn tried to put Houston away in the third quarter, they kept fighting back. Johnson continued his hot shooting hitting another 3 pointer that gave them their biggest lead of the quarter 78-67. The Rockets responded getting within 1 (80-79) after a Omri Caspi jumper. Johnson’s 30th point of the game came courtesy of yet another 3 pointer and set the stage for the fourth quarter that would see them clinch a playoff spot.

The closest Houston would get would be 5 points (84-79) at the start of the fourth as Brooklyn went up by as many as 13 (105-92) extending their home winning streak to 14 games after the 105-96 victory. Aside from clinching a spot for post season play, they got closer to division leader Toronto (1 1/2 games out) and trailing #3 seed Chicago by the same margin.

The surging Brooklyn Nets travel to Manhattan tonight to face a New York Knicks team that has won 10 of their last 13 games. The Knicks are just 2 games out of the final playoff spot. As the Knicks have struggled all year, Brooklyn found a new life at the start of the year. Neither team thought they would be where they are at the start of the year.

Brooklyn Tidbits:

Head coach Jason Kidd was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for March…Shaun Livingston (17 points) was 1 of 6 Nets to score in double figures…The Nets had not beaten Houston in 8 years. “We’ve been playing good basketball against the West,” said Livingston.

Remember, they only play the Western teams twice a year…The win gave them a 16-6 record against the Western Conference…Center Kevin Garnett missed his 16th straight game but is expected to play Friday when they face Detroit.

About Andrew Rosario

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