Big news surrounding the Nets in the last 12 hours or so.
Coming off a loss in Golden State last night, the buzz isn't so much on the game itself, but more so that the Nets have officially signed the first openly gay professional athlete to a 10-day contract. The decision was made moments after Glen "Big Baby" Davis decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. While the Nets organization should be proud of being pioneers, it shouldn't have any affect on the way people perceive Jason Collins as a basketball player. Tonight Collins and the Nets faced off against the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, with hopes of bumping up to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets were without Kevin Garnett (rest), Shaun Livingston (back), & Marcus Thornton (food poisoning), but with Collins making his season debut and Deron Williams stellar performance, the Nets dropped the Lakers on night two of a road back-to-back set, 108-102.
In each of the last three games, Brooklyn got off to very slow starts. Sunday, they grabbed a 19-8 advantage to start the game, forcing Mike D'Antoni to call his first timeout with six minutes remaining in the first. Scrappy defense from Brooklyn forced Los Angeles to turn the ball over six times, while also enabling them to establish clean offensive possessions. In less than 8 minutes of play, the Nets converted on four three pointers -- doubling what they had altogether then night prior. Paul Pierce got off to a scorching hot start, scoring 14 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting. The Nets looked revitalized compared to last night, owning a 33-21 lead after one.
The moment everybody waited for came with 10:28 remaining in the second quarter, as Jason Collins checked into the game for the Nets. Collins isn't known for putting up big numbers, but more for his solid defensive intangibles. On his first play of action, Collins forced a turnover on Lakers' center Chris Kaman which led to a fast break score on the other end. He logged a little over 4 minutes in the first half.
The Nets fast pace continued right where they left off from the first quarter. After exchanging a few early buckets, Brooklyn went on a 9-2 run leading to a 17 point lead. Shortly after that, the Lakers went on a 7-0 run of their own, trailing the Nets 49-39 with five minutes remaining in the half. From that point on, the Nets took complete control of this game. Paul Pierce was the high man of the half, scoring 18 points on 7-9 shooting. Deron Williams looked good again, scoring 17 points and dishing out 6 assists. Brooklyn was dominating this game, holding a stellar 63-47 lead after 24 minutes of play.
It wasn't the ideal 3rd quarter for the Nets. For the first time all game, the Lakers dominated the pace. After building a 19 point lead early in the quarter, the Lakers took over and cut the deficit down to 6 with under a minute to go. Just when it looked like Los Angeles would keep cutting into the deficit, Mirza Teletovic hit two straight three pointers to put the Nets back up 12. Despite being outscored 27-23 in the quarter, the Nets owned an 86-74 lead going into the fourth.
Quick stat: Last night in Golden State, the Nets shot a total 2-21 from behind the arc. After three quarters, they were 9-17 from three.
The fourth quarter got off to an ugly start. It took the Lakers only 3 minutes to cut the lead back down to 6. Jason Kidd called a much needed early timeout. For the second time of the night, Jason Collins checked into the game for the Nets with 8:20 remaining in the quarter.
From that point on the Nets played stellar defense behind Deron Williams' 6 steals. It didn't end the way the Nets planned, but after all; a win is a win. Along with the 6 steals, Williams finished with 30 points, seven assists, & five rebounds. This ladies and gentlemen, is the Deron Williams we have all been looking for.
As for Jason Collins, he played a total of 11 minutes, grabbing 2 rebounds & 1 steal. His great impact on the world is undeniable and tonight history was made for the Nets, and more specifically Jason Collins.
After the game, Sarah Kustok asked the Nets newest player what it was like. He said simply, "I love basketball. Basketball's fun."
Paul Pierce had a big night for the Nets; scoring 25 points & 7 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko finished with 10 points & 10 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. Finally the dramatic game came to an end in favor of Brooklyn: 108-102.
Compared to Saturday night's 11 assists, the Nets had a total of 27 Sunday. Ball movement is clearly crucial to Brooklyn's success.
The Nets continue their road trip this Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
For more on the Lakers, check them out at: Silver Screen and Roll
- Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers, 9:00 PM - NetsDaily
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets at Lakers - NetsDaily
- Nets at Lakers Boxscore - NBA.com
- Nets vs. Lakers: First half (Video) - NBA.com
- Reversed by Plumlee (Video) - NBA.com
- Bazemore Lifts Off (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: Nets defeat Lakers (Video) - Bob Lorenz - YES Network
- Deron Williams talks about his big game and the win (Video) - Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Jason Kidd talks about Jason Collins, Nets' win (Video) - YES Network
- Jason Collins talks about being back (Video) - YES Network
- Jason Collins talks about his first game back in 2014 (Video) - YES Network
- Jason Collins talks about signing with the Nets (Video) - YES Network
- Watch: Jason Collins Introductory Brooklyn Nets Press Conference (Video) - The Brooklyn Game
- Jason Collins Checks Into NBA Game, Makes History (Video) - The Brooklyn Game
- Collins back in NBA, Nets beat Lakers 108-102 - Joe Resnick - AP
- Jason Collins gets new shot - Brian Mahoney - AP
- The Nets' background man takes the spotlight, and Jason Collins makes us all better because of it - Dave D'Alessandro - Star-Ledger
- Collins Back in NBA, Nets Beat Lakers 108-102 - NYTimes.com - Billy Witz - New York Times
- N.B.A.’s 10-Day Contract Is Essentially a Job Tryout - Benjamin Hoffman - New York Times
- Collins Finds Spot Again, Moving the N.B.A. Forward - Harvey Araton - New York Times
- Jason Collins breaks barrier, plays 11 minutes in Nets win over Lakers - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- As barriers crumble, Brooklyn pride shows - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets’ Jason Collins makes history as first openly gay player in major sports league, one day it will no longer be news - Mike Lupica - New York Daily News
- Jason Collins debut with Nets gets big reaction from Mayor de Blasio, Brooklyn fans - Ryan Sit & Oren Yaniv - New York Daily News
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 108, Lakers 102 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Jason Collins, Brooklyn Nets again make perfect pair - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Jason Collins of Brooklyn Nets makes NBA return against Los Angeles Lakers - Ramona Shelburne - ESPN LA
- Jason Collins puts his focus on the game, not history - Ramona Shelburne - ESPN LA
- Jason Collins' new life no different for Brooklyn Nets - Ramona Shelburne - ESPN LA
- Collins Makes Debut In Nets' Win (Video) - ESPN
- Deron Williams' 30 points lead Nets past Lakers - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Jason Collins not thinking about history - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Jason Collins' signing pleases Rick Welts, NBA's first openly gay exec - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets beat Lakers in historic return of Jason Collins - Andy Vasquez - The Record
Nets notes: Snap skid against Lakers - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets triumph over Lakers in Collins’ debut - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- NBA’s Silver on openly gay pro athletes: ‘We fell behind’ - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Collins’ deal noteworthy, but one day it won’t be - Mike Vaccaro - New York Post
- Nets Hang On: Nets 108, Lakers 102 (GAME GRADES) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- A Mundane Night With Jason Collins - Daniel Savitzky - The Brooklyn Game
- Jason Collins is simply focused on basketball and helping the Nets win - Jon Presser - SNY Nets
- Nets make history before beating Lakers - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- Lakers' 108-102 loss isn't real story as Jason Collins makes history - Mike Bresnahan - Los Angeles Times
- Jason Collins puts his focus on the game, not history - Ben Bolch - Los Angeles Times
- Jason Collins makes history as first openly gay athlete on NBA roster - Mark Medina - Los Angeles Daily News
- Lakers can’t find way to beat Brooklyn - Phil Collin - Los Angeles Daily News
- Extra Pass: Jason Collins speaks loudly for progress - Dan Feldman - NBC Sports
- Kobe Bryant on Jason Collins: Act of courage will have huge domino effect - Marc J. Spears - Yahoo! Sports
- Twin Jarron: Jason Collins in 'good situation' on Nets - Sam Amick - USA Today
- Final Score: Nets 108, Lakers 102 - Jon Presser - SNY Nets
- Jason Collins Makes Season Debut, Clippers Beat Thunder in OKC - Max Ogden - Sheridan Hoops
- Jason Collins Plays for Brooklyn Nets As NBA's First Openly Gay Player - Nate Rawlings - Time
- Brooklyn Nets' Jason Collins becomes NBA's first openly gay active player - London Daily Mail
- Gay basketball star Jason Collins claims a victory for equal rights - London Evening Standard