Friday, December 27, 2013

Teletovic, Livingston lead Nets to 104-93 win over Bucks

Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke
The Nets have found themselves struggling lately, and after the Christmas Day loss to the Bulls, found themselves on a four game losing streak. With the last place Milwaukee Bucks coming to town, the Nets were faced with an opportunity to snap that losing streak, and they took advantage, winning 104-93.

The Nets played an impressive first quarter, as they shot 63% from the field in the quarter. They didn't play like the normal, slow Nets that we're all used to seeing. With Shaun Livingston starting, Joe Johnson moving to small forward, and Paul Pierce starting at power forward, the Nets had a much smaller lineup that allowed Deron Williams to push the pace a bit, and it succeeded in the first. Brooklyn started the quarter on a quick 9-2 run, but Milwaukee began hitting some shots. The Nets outscored the Bucks 31-18 in the quarter thanks to a late 13-6 run at the end of the quarter.

That high-level basketball didn't continue in the second quarter. The Nets started off building their lead up to 19 on an 8-0 run, but the Bucks would respond with a 14-4 extended run of their own, cutting the Nets' lead to nine before Kevin Garnett sunk two late free throws to make the lead 11 at halftime. The Bucks outscored the Nets 19-17 in the quarter, but Brooklyn still held a 48-37 lead going into the half. The Nets shot just 28% in the second quarter, but their defense hasn't allowed Milwaukee to go off on huge runs. 

This may seem slightly surprising, but the Nets actually played a solid third quarter. Led by Jason Terry's three third quarter three pointers, Brooklyn outscored the Bucks 28-23 in the quarter and increased their lead to 16. Milwaukee got off to a 7-0 run late in the quarter, but the Nets would later respond with a 12-4 run of their own. The Nets came out of the half aggressively and continuously forced the Bucks into fouling, leading to Milwaukee being in the penalty with 10 minutes left in the quarter. 

The Nets started the fourth quarter off hot, going on an instant 11-4 run. The Brooklyn lead swelled to 23, but Milwaukee would go on an 8-0 run, and eventually cut the Nets' lead down to 9. Since the Nets' early run, Milwaukee outscored them 24-15. It was a struggle offensively for both teams in the final two minutes of the game as neither team made a field goal. The Nets held off Milwaukee to finish off a 104-93 win.

One of the very few bright spots for the Nets has been the play of Mirza Teletovic. When Brook Lopez went down, guys knew they had to step up. Mirza finished tonight's game with a career-high 19 points, and he also grabbed six rebounds. After not seeing much playing time in the beginning of the season, Teletovic has proven that he can be a valuable asset to the Nets' rotation. He shot 7/13 from the field tonight, including 5-9 from the three point line. These shooting numbers are refreshing for a team that has had it's struggles shooting the ball of late.

Shaun Livingston led the Nets with 20 points and six assists while shooting 6/11 from the field. Jason Terry added 12 points off the bench, shooting 4/5 from three point territory. Kevin Garnett had himself a solid game, putting up 10 points and grabbing five rebounds in just 18 minutes. Deron Williams had his struggles tonight, scoring nine points on 4/9 shooting while only dishing out four assists. 

Final Score: 104-93 Nets
Most Disappointing Stat of The Game: Joe Johnson 2/12 from the field
Promising Stat of The Game: Nets 12/26 from three
Scariest Moment of the Game: Milwaukee cutting the Nets' 23 point lead to nine
Best Moment of The Game: Air Mirza!!
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