WHAT IT MEANS: Bring on the Manhattan Knicks.
The Brooklyn Nets struggled against the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday afternoon, but were able to gut their way to a 98-85 victory thanks to a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter.
The Nets (8-4), shot just 42.4 percent from the field, but did enough to carry a two-game winning streak into Monday night’s highly-anticipated matchup with their East River Rivals. They have won five straight games at home, and are 6-1 in their $1 billion arena this season (best start since 2002-03).
The Blazers (6-7) were without LaMarcus Aldridge (back spasms).
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Joe Johnson had a huge first half (8-for-12, 17 points), then got a couple decisive buckets in the fourth quarter. He finished his second straight strong outing with a team-high 21 points.
BANGED UP: Deron Williams is banged up -- and his shooting struggles continued. D-Will (14 points, 12 assists for his fifth double-double, along with a career-high four blocks and three steals) shot just 4-for-13 from the field. He missed all four of his attempts in the first half before finally getting it going in the third quarter (nine points). In his past six games, D-Will is shooting 32.5 percent. (27-for-83).
REGGIE! REGGIE! Reggie Evans finished with 14 rebounds in 22 minutes. He’s now grabbed double-digit boards in three of the past four games.
CRASH LANDING: Gerald Wallace struggled against his former team, missing his first seven shots. He contributed just two points and a rebound in 27 minutes. Meanwhile, the kid he ended up being traded for, No. 6 overall pick Damian Lillard played well, finishing with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
CAROM COUNTER: Through 12 games, Lopez has grabbed 74 rebounds.
WHO’S IN THE HOUSE? Darryl Strawberry.
UP NEXT: What we’ve all been waiting for: Nets vs. Knicks on Monday night.