Nets Avenge Overtime Loss to Toronto, Anderson Shines


Five days removed from arguably their most deflating losses of the season, Brooklyn traveled north of the border to take on the Raptors hoping for some much needed retribution. In the days between the two matchups against Toronto, the Nets pulled off a massive come from behind victory on Monday night against the Clippers at Barclays Center.

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Down 9 with more than a minute remaining, Brooklyn ripped off a flurry of three pointers from Joe Johnson and a clutch four-point play to take the lead as Alan Anderson was fouled in the corner. After Chris Paul tied the game with an effortless lay-in with seconds remaining, Lionel Hollins called upon Jarrett Jack to take Brooklyn’s final shot in regulation. Jack drove right as DeAndre Jordan switched onto the veteran guard and nailed a fadeaway mid-range jumper with a second left to give the Nets a 102-100 lead. After Los Angeles was forced to burn their final timeout on an inbounds attempt, the Clippers desperation play came up wildly short as Spencer Hawes tossed a pass out of bounds to seal the victory.

Wednesday night, the Nets pulled off another impressive upset as they handed Toronto their first division loss of the season. The game remained hotly contested in the first half, as Brooklyn continued to battle back each time the Raptors looked to extend their lead. Once the second half began, the Nets, one of the weaker third quarter teams in the league took the initiative and retook the lead with 7 minutes to play in the 3rd and didn’t look back from there.

Stellar three-point shooting, ball movement and ball security were the keys to victory last night as Alan Anderson and Jarrett Jack were leading the charge. It was one of, if not the most complete performance we’ve seen from Brooklyn this season. Contributions came from the entire roster, whether it was Cory Jefferson or Joe Johnson. Anderson, who was summoned to the starting  lineup once again, scored a season-high 22 points on 78% shooting in 33 minutes of gametime. He buried two threes and hit three free throws on another attempt, scoring 13 points during the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth. Anderson’s efforts allowed the Nets to build their lead to double digits once he was subbed out for Cory Jefferson.

Jarrett Jack continued to terrorize Toronto after dropping a career-high 35 points last week in addition to 13 assists and 8 boards. Last night was a paralleled performance from the veteran point guard. Jack logged 36 minutes, scoring 24 on 9-13 shooting while dishing out 6 assists. His ability to penetrate Toronto’s defense to set up his teammates on the perimeter caused fits for the Raptors the entire night. Brooklyn dished out 24 assists while shooting 49% from the field, 47% beyond the arc.

Lionel Hollins committed to a guard-heavy lineup in the second half and rode his offensive weapons to an 18-point lead late in the fourth quarter. The combination of Lopez-Johnson-Williams-Anderson-Jack helped extended Brooklyn’s lead, using phenomenal ball movement and strong shooting to answer any comeback attempt presented by the Raptors. In addition to the aforementioned lineup, rookie Bojan Bogdanovic appeared to regain his confidence late in the game, as he buried three triples in the fourth to seal the victory for Brooklyn. Last week, he was unable to make a potential game-winning shot against Toronto but was cold-blooded in putting the final nails in the coffin for the “Drakes”.

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As for Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the well-paid bench assets were also key in Brooklyn’s win last night. Although each struggled from the field (4-12 and 4-14 respectively), Williams’ ability to drive and attack the rim was crucial in the second half, dishing out 6 assists while tallying 11 points. Lopez’s defensive activity in the paint forced difficult looks when he was on the court, causing Toronto to rely heavily on their perimeter offense. Regardless of their struggles, it is comforting for Brooklyn knowing that Johnson and Jack can pick up the slack offensively when Williams and Lopez aren’t on their “A” game. Perhaps a Friday night matchup against the Knicks could help Williams regain the confidence lost due to his rib injury.

After the win on Wednesday, Brooklyn improved their record to 20-28, officially a half-game behind Miami for the final playoff spot. Tomorrow presents Brooklyn with another excellent opportunity to keep pace as they take on Knicks, who have been trending upwards in recent weeks. Miami takes on San Antonio in Texas for a finals rematch which would be truly impressive if they can leave with a win. As for the Nets, they have proven this past week they possess the ability to compete with and beat the best teams in the league. Now, it is time to avoid a serious letdown Friday night and generate much needed momentum as the All-Star break approaches.

Enjoy your 50%-off pizza from Papa John’s and Go Nets.