The shorthanded Brooklyn Nets fought valiantly, but they came up short. Playing without Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, the Nets fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 110-103, on Saturday night.
Blake Griffin had a monster game, going off for 30 points and 12 rebounds. He had a scare in the third quarter when he landed awkwardly, grabbed at his left Achilles and limped to the locker room, but he returned within minutes and looked perfectly fine.
J.J. Redick also had a great night with 26 points, shooting 5-of-7 from three-point range.
For Brooklyn, Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee led the way with 19 apiece.
The Clippers overcame 18 turnovers by shooting 52 percent from the floor.
The Nets hit on only 42 percent of their shot attempts.
Let's break this game down.
Blake Griffin Was Simply Awesome
Griffin did it all in this one. He didn't just dunk the ball, either. He went to work in the post, showing off some nice moves on the block and fighting for second-chance opportunities. Not only that, but he hit his first five free throws of the night and ended up shooting 6-of-11 from the stripe.
Blake also played some fine defense, including a highlight-reel block on a Plumlee dunk attempt that led to a three-point play by Griffin on the other end.
Griffin shot 12-of-19 from the floor in 40 minutes and looked fully engaged throughout. I don't know where LA would have been without him in this game.
Chris Paul Struggled, Except When it Counted
Late in the fourth quarter, Chris Paul was 1-of-10 from the floor and couldn't buy a bucket. However, with the game on the line, he drained a huge three and then hit a mid-range jumper a couple of possessions later to help Los Angeles grab the win.
Paul ended up with 12 points off 3-of-12 shooting, and he handed out 13 assists while grabbing seven rebounds, as well.
Shaun Livingston's size and length appeared to give Paul some difficulty throughout the contest, but in the end, the best point guard in the league stepped up as per usual.
Hats Off to the Nets
How about the Nets tonight?
When I heard that Lopez, Garnett, Pierce and Williams were all out, I figured Brooklyn would lose this one by 30 or more, but the reserves banded together and put forth an incredible effort in this contest.
Plumlee was simply fantastic off the pine, throwing some down vicious slams and displaying an outstanding motor and spring in his step. Tyshawn Taylor also demonstrated flashes of brilliance, scoring 13 points and getting to the free-throw with consistency (he went 6-of-8 from the stripe).
You then had Andray Blatche hitting nearly every shot imaginable (he went 8-of-11) and Alan Anderson knocking down four triples.
Let's not forget that Andrei Kirilenko was out for this game, too.
The performance by the Nets tonight really speaks to how much depth this team actually has.