No Gerald Wallace. No Deron Williams. No Kris Humphries. No problem. The Brooklyn Nets won their fifth straight after defeating the Phoenix Suns, 99-79, at the Barclays center Friday Night.
Despite feeling less than 100 percent with an unspecified illness, Joe Johnson put together a solid performance for the Nets, scoring a game-high 19 points. MarShon Brooks added 17 points off the bench. Jared Dudley was the leading scorer for Phoenix with 18. For the second consecutive game, the Nets bounced back from sluggish first halves to take their opponents to the woodshed with efficient, high-scoring second halves. As was the case against the Sixers on Tuesday, Brooklyn went on an extended run (10-0) in the third quarter to pull away from the Suns, who have won only twice away from Phoenix. With the win, the Nets improved their record to 21-15 and now trail the Knicks by only two games for the Atlantic division lead. The Nets’ victory over the Suns is significant not only because of its impact on the standings but also because for the first time in the team’s history, Brooklyn has won three games in a row by a margin of 20 or more points. Establishing a new first speaks to the Nets’ dominance as of late. Though they have feasted on the NBA’s worst (Suns, Sixers, Kings, Bobcats, Wizards, Cavaliers), the Nets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are one of the NBA’s best. The Nets’ recent success stems from their offensive production. They are averaging close to 100 ppg during a stretch in which Brooklyn has won seven of eight. Coach P.J. Carlesimo deserves some credit for Brooklyn’s resurgence, but most of the credit should go to the players for buying into the team concept and living up to the high-priced contracts given to them during the offseason.
Injury Notes: Kris Humphries sat out with an ankle injury. Gerald Wallace exited the game after a hard foul from Suns forward P.J. Tucker in the first quarter. The early diagnosis is bruised ribs. Deron Williams left the game briefly in the third quarter because of a right thigh contusion. The extent of Wallace and Williams’s injuries is uncertain nor is it clear whether the ailments will affect their availability for Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.
- Joe Johnson leads Nets over Suns, 99-79 (newsday.com)