The Barclays Center saw a low-scoring game tonight as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 86-76. But it wasn’t the still-lingering Thanksgiving food coma or sleep deprivation from Black Friday shopping that caused the Clippers to fall short tonight: it was a strong, consistent defensive effort on the part of the Nets.
Rather than allowing the Clippers to get into a fast-break, dunk-happy rhythm, the Nets stood tough and simply wore the them down. Not only did they hold all Clippers players to under 15 points, but they forced 20 turnovers. The Nets then really capitalized on their work in the fourth quarter. For example, in the final period, Chris Paul had no points, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, and 6 fouls. It was this kind of play that allowed the Nets to outscore the Clippers 23-13 in the fourth quarter for the ultimate win.
But I think the lesson we all can take from tonight’s game is this: it doesn’t matter how many great players the Clippers have if they turn the ball over 20 times. Not even the depth of the bench can prevent the damage of that many turnovers, which leaves little opportunity for any player to make any kind of difference.
For the Nets, the presence of Brook Lopez down low proved crucial. Lopez ended the game with 26 points and 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. Joe Johnson followed with 19 points, and Deron Willians put up 11 points and 8 assists to advance to 14-4 against longtime rival Paul.
For the Clippers, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led the team with 14 points each. Jamal Crawford followed with 13 points, and DeAndre Jordan put up 12 points and an impressive 13 rebounds.
With tonight’s loss, the Clippers drop to 8-4, and the Nets advance to 7-4. The Clippers take on the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow at 4:00 PM PST, the last of their 4-game road trip before heading home on Monday.