BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Houston, you have a problem. You just lost to the Nets for the SECOND time this season.
Times haven't exactly been the best for the Nets of late, but they relieved some of the pain (at least momentarily) Tuesday night with a 110-95 victory over the Rockets. On Joe Johnson bobblehead night, Johnson came through and saved the Nets with 15-fourth quarter points.
The Nets put the Rockets three-game win streak to rest and won their fifth game at home in the last six games.
Here's how it went down:
Brooklyn looked great from the start. Despite being one of the league's worst offensive teams, they scored 31 points in the first quarter and 57 in the half, giving them an 11-point lead by the end of the half.
And hey, they even hit four threes in the half and seven on the night!
They also forced 13-Houston turnovers and made them pay with a monstrous alley-oop from Jarrett Jack to Thaddeus Young to cap off a beautiful 24 minutes of basketball for the Nets.
The Nets have lost six games this season when they've led by 10 or more. Not tonight.
They extended the 11-point lead and gained the largest margin of the night at 18, but the Rockets and Marcus Thornton wouldn't go away. Thornton scored 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter. The former Net used to own the nickname "Microwave" due to his ability to heat up so quick.
Behind his lead, the Rockets cut the deficit down to three with 35 seconds remaining. But still, the Nets didn't fold behind the absurd fourth quarter from Thornton and the Rockets.
Instead, they rode the back of Joe Johnson, who scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth. The Rockets got within three as mentioned, but Brook Lopez tapped out the ball after a missed three from Bojan Bogdanovic. Jarrett Jack caught the tap out and was immediately fouled as the Nets went up five with eight seconds left. Game over.
Bojan Bogdanovic started in place of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half. It was his first game in double digits since November 13th at Sacramento.
"Bogie stepped into the starting role and definitely responded," Lopez said of Bogdanovic. "He was huge for us. We absolutely needed him to play like that, and he did."
Bogie looked confident from start to finish and it certainly helped that he had James Harden covering him. Still, if Bogdanovic can help Lopez & Young on the offensive end the way he did tonight, the Nets offense should be in better shape going forward.
Dwight Howard was contained to 10 and nine on the night. James Harden, whose averaged 32 points per game under interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, was held in check all night with just 10 points on 2-of-9 shooting.
In their place, Corey Brewer (22 points) and Marcus Thornton (32 points) stepped up and kept the Rockets within reach for a good portion of the game.
It was a very sloppy game. Both teams committed 24 turnovers, and James Harden led the way with seven of them. It was ugly, but the sloppiness proved to work in the Nets a favor as they took advantage of the run ‘n' gun style of play.
The Nets finished the night with 14 steals and 27 assists.
"In practice yesterday, we just went through our ball movement and our movement with out the ball," Lopez said. "I think you could see the results starting to show tonight."
Thaddeus Young notched his tenth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Brook Lopez led the team with 24 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. He also coughed the ball up six times
The Nets are now 6-15 and will play the Philadelphia 76ers this Thursday. Mikhail Prokhorov gets to go back home a little happier than when he arrived.
For more on the Houston Rockets, check them out at The Dream Shake.
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