Brooklyn, NY – The Golden State Warriors inaugurated their first trip to the Barclays Center with a combined 58 points from David Lee and Stephen Curry, as the Bay Area representatives erased a 13 point deficit in a 109-102 comeback win over the host Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
A homecoming of sorts for Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson, and backup guard Charles Jenkins [four points, one assist] of Queens resulted in an emotional victory, one that had Jackson’s players primed up to get the win for their coach at one of the hottest venues in town.
“He had so much passion after the game,” said Curry on coach Jackson, adding, “He played differently then I do, but he made a living on being a dominant point guard.”
The Warriors, on the strength of Lee’s double-double of 30 points and 15 rebounds, and Curry’s 28 points and five assists, took their first lead on a Curry three-point special that made the score 82-79 towards the end of the third quarter. Golden State would then control the crucial five minute stretch to end the fourth quarter, never letting the Nets come closer than five points.
Lee who was excited to be back in town after five season with the New York Knicks, was happy that he is finally on a winning team, as Golden State is now 6-4 on the road and 12-7 on the season. “A year in New York is like 20, especially when you are losing,” explained Lee.
For Brooklyn, it was another lost opportunity at home, as a big game by Joe Johnson, a season-high 32 points, 15 alone on the first quarter, was not enough to get past a Warriors offense that dominated the paint, outscoring Brooklyn 50-38.
“Just our effort defensively, it’s like we weren’t in tune,” said Johnson on the Nets’ inability to stop the Warriors in the second half. “Put a lot of it on the guards, our one-on-one defense. They killed us on the glass, got all the 50-50 balls. You can’t win like that.”
The Nets shot reasonably well, 42.5-percent, and committed only 13 turnovers, and the emergence of center “Hero Zero,” Andray Blatche [22 points alongside a season-high 15 boards] almost seemed enough to will Brooklyn to victory.
Blatche’s biggest moment may have come at the conclusion of the first half, when he found himself left wide open along the right perimeter, hesitated for a few seconds, and then coolly drained a three-pointer as if it was just a normal part of his repertoire. For the regulars in Brooklyn, it was a pleasantly strange surprise that led them out of their seats as the Nets took a 63-55 lead after two quarters.
Nets’ guard Deron Williams had himself a soft 23 points on 8-of-23 shooting from the field.
The Warriors controlled the pace towards the end of the second half, wheeling the ball down court for a fast-break advantage of 24-2, as an assortment of dunks and layups towards the end ensured the win for Golden State.
Coach Jackson was not surprised to read the stat sheet showcasing the Warriors strength on running the ball in the open court, saying, ” That’s exactly who we are, [a] dynamic, energetic, enthusiastic group who appreciate playing at this time.”