Nets with plenty of energy and effort, leading to one heck of a win over the Warriors, 102-98

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN - The Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, two teams riding winning streaks and contrasting styles of play, got together to see whose streak would end first, the Nets' 3-game winning streak or the Warriors 10-game streak.

The Nets were, once again, without Deron Williams, who is dealing with injuries related to both his ankles and is not likely to play on Friday, so the Nets were in for a tough one against a quick, athletic Warriors team. Brooklyn needed to be on top of its game in order to hang with the Warriors.

And boy, while it looked like they wouldn't be early, they most certainly were late in this one, winning their fourth straight and stopping the Warriors 10-game win streak, 102-98.

Early on, the Warriors were as advertised. They got out to a quick start on the backs of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson's ability to stretch the floor, then by working the ball inside once the Nets cheated on the close-out. Brooklyn could not keep up with Golden State on either end of the floor. Their lack of athleticism, ability to create open looks and slow transition defense led to a 32-22 first quarter lead by the Warriors. Golden State made 6-of-8 threes and shot 61.9 percent from the floor in the quarter.

The Nets were gifted with a basketball reality: the Warriors' second unit. They aren't nearly as impressive at scoring the basketball than the starters, naturally, which allowed for the Nets to rattle off a little run to pull within four points. Andrei Kirilenko kept order in his first-half minutes, scoring seven points with four rebounds and two assists in nine minutes. Again, he's proving to be highly productive, even when limited.

It was Kirilenko, and eventually Andray Blatche, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson, who kept the Nets in this one in the first half. It seemed early on like this game was about to get out of hand, but the Nets were able to exploit an underwhelming Warriors' bench and actually carried a 59-52 lead into halftime.

The third quarter started off with a lot of energy on the Brooklyn side of the ball -- both sides, actually. The defensive pressure on Curry was fantastic. What started off as a game in which Curry looked like he was going to go off, turned when the Nets applied doubles and even at times triples on him. The disruption was evident. It wasn't the prettiest quarter, offensively speaking, but the defense in the third kept the game from getting out of hand, as we're so used to seeing in these third quarters.

After three, the Nets trailed by one, 76-75.

Garnett came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring seven quick points in a matter of four minutes to start the quarter. So too, though, did Curry.

One plus for the Nets, before the game coach Kidd said that he wanted to keep Kirilenko's minutes between 18-21. With five minutes left to play and the Nets up one, Kirilenko had only played 15-plus minutes. He was able to keep him in during "crunch time." Kidd did take him out in favor of Mirza Teletovic, to get a spark in the offense, but defensively this team isn't the same without Kirlienko and Garnett in there.

It was bucket-for-bucket time, in the final two minutes, with the game tied 93-93. Brooklyn did its best to make sure the ball stayed out of Curry's hands -- anyone but Curry beats us, essentially. In the final minute, Kirilenko and Garnett returned, leading to consecutive stops and, eventually, the win -- with the Warriors hitting just one filed goal in the final two minutes of the game -- 102-98.

Shaun Livingston played well, scoring 13 points with four assists in 35 minutes. Johnson finished with a team-high 25 points, Blatche with 17 points and Kirilenko played 17-plus minutes, finishing with eight points and six rebounds.

Curry had 34 points for the Warriors, David Lee finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Up next, Friday night at home against the Miami Heat.

For more on the Warriors, see: Golden State Of Mind

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