Sunday, March 30, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Nets 114, Timberwolves 99
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one.
The Nets earned their 13th straight victory at Barclays Center, matching the franchise record with a 114-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.
A New York Knicks' loss in Golden State later Sunday night would wrap things up.
If the Knicks win, either a Nets’ win and Knicks’ lose the rest of the way would do it.
What it means: The Nets (39-33) kept pace with the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
They are 20-2 in their past 22 games at home.
Paul Pierce got off to a blazing start in the first quarter again, scoring 16 points. Pierce has scored 33 points in his past two first quarters combined on a perfect 8-for-8 from 3-point territory. He got into foul trouble, though, and finished with 22 points.
Deron Williams, who was also in foul trouble, shot just 1-for-9 from the field. Williams has an NBA-best active streak of 22 straight games with a steal. Coach Jason Kidd and Mookie Blaylock each had a franchise-record streak of 26 straight games with a steal.
Joe Johnson stepped up with Pierce and Williams on the bench in foul trouble, scoring eight of his 19 points in the third quarter. Johnson became the 15th active player to notch 17,000 career points. He has registered double figures in his last nine games.
Alan Anderson (13 points) hit three 3-pointers during a 13-4 run that gave the Nets a 98-88 lead in the fourth.
Andray Blatche scored 14 points and added six rebounds off the bench. Mason Plumlee added 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Nets lost a 13-point lead in the third quarter because they had seven turnovers. Things changed in the fourth. Brooklyn had 20 turnovers for the game.
The Nets shot 50 percent and went 12-for-33 from 3-point range.
Injury update: Kevin Garnett (back) and Andrei Kirilenko missed their 16th and fourth games, respectively, but both are inching closer to returning to the lineup. Marcus Thornton had to leave the game with lower back tightness, the team announced in the fourth quarter.
Up next: The Nets host Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. It will be Howard’s first game in Brooklyn since the “Dwightmare” saga.