Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton has been talking a big game for the Nets lately, but he has been backing it up as well. In Friday’s 108-102 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Claxton started slow as he got into foul trouble early in the game while he was guarding Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas.
It looked like Valanciunas size bothered everyone on the Nets especially since the team is tall, but filled with a bunch of slim athletes including Claxton. In the second half, he was able to stay out of foul trouble as the Nets’ defensive intensity forced the ball away from Valanciunas and into the hands of guys like CJ McCollum and Naji Marshall on the perimeter.
By the end of the game, when Brooklyn completed a comeback from being down 11 points, Claxton finished with nine points (on 4-of-4 shooting from the field), nine rebounds, four assists, and five blocks. He spoke postgame about how the Nets have what they need to pursue a title this season:
“I hope so. Everybody, especially earlier in the season, ‘oh, they need this, they need a big, they need that,’ but we have everything we need when everybody is on the court, locked in, and we’re all scrambling, playing hard. We have enough length to where it gives us bigger guys fits like it did tonight against a Valanciunas. So, yeah, we good with everything we got in the locker room and we just got to keep building.”
With the win over the Pelicans, Brooklyn has now won 13 of its past 14 games.