An already shorthanded New Jersey Nets team was diminished even further when Devin Harris was ejected in the second quarter after a flagrant foul on Blake Griffin, but a few other players stepped up to help the Nets to a 110-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
There did not appear to be any intent on Harris' part to injure Griffin. He simply went too high on the foul and was unable to break Griffin's fall.
Griffin had been sprinting toward the basket on a fast-break and Harris did not want to allow an easy basket.
The Nets held an 11-point lead at the time and there was some uncertainty as to whether they would be able to hold it without their point guard.
Further exacerbating the problem, the Nets were again without Terrence Williams, who has now missed four straight games with an abdominal injury, although he should be returning this week.
Jordan Farmar came through big time, however, scoring 15 points and dishing out 12 assists.
Many felt the motion offense New Jersey is running would be a better fit for Farmar than the triangle offense used by the LA Lakers, and so far the UCLA product is proving those people right.
Travis Outlaw and Brook Lopez also had big nights, going for 23 and 24, respectively, while shooting a combined 19-of-30, or 63 percent. Outlaw was also 4-for-6 on threes.
Kris Humphries had another solid effort, posting his second double-double in three games. He finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Harris had been playing well prior to being run, as he had eight points and seven assists in just 14 minutes.
If you've been following the Nets this year, you already know that the nice game from Outlaw means Anthony Morrow had a bad game.
Morrow scored just nine points on 4-of-9 shooting, although he was better late in the game than those numbers indicate.
Despite the somewhat close score, the Clippers were lucky not to be blown out of the gym in this one.
New Jersey racked up way too many cheap fouls, putting LA in the bonus early, and allowed drives to the basket that resulted in more fouls far too often.
The Clippers ended the game with 38 free throw attempts and it was, really, the only reason they were in the game.
Eric Gordon came through for them with 30 points, but he was just 6-of-20 from the field, racking up most of his points at the foul line where he was 16-for-20.
Rookie Eric Bledsoe also played well for LA, scoring 15 points, grabbing eight rebounds and adding in six assists.
The Nets allowed second and third opportunities to the Clippers at too high of a rate, as LA had 17 offensive rebounds. Some of that can be attributed to the number of times the Clippers settled for long jumpers that resulted in long rebounds, but New Jersey will need to clean that up.
If it is the case that a team is launching and missing perimeter shots with rebounds kicking out past the paint, the guards need to get in better position to grab the ball.
Other than the free throws and rebounding, it was a good defensive effort by the Nets as they held their opponent to 40 percent shooting and did not allow more than 26 points in any quarter.
The Nets also blocked a total of eight shots, with Lopez and Humphries rejecting three a-piece.
New Jersey had 13 turnovers, but more than made up for it by totaling 32 assists, a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Nets will have a much tougher opponent when they travel to Utah on Wednesday, and Harris will get his first test against a truly elite point guard in Derron Williams.
That will be a one-on-one matchup to watch.
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