On a night in which history is made, the Nets defeat the Lakers, 108-102

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a loss last night in Golden State, the Nets played their second game of a back to back against the Los Angeles Lakers. Brooklyn is 1-2 to start the seven game road trip and with things so tight in the Eastern Conference, every game is important.

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

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