The Nets beat the Clippers, 110-95, on Saturday in Los Angeles to win their second straight game.
Coach Jacque Vaughn went with Edmond Sumner again at the point with Kyrie Irving serving his suspension. Sumner was joined by Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton, Royce O’Neale and Joe Harris as Brooklyn’s starting five.
This unit is plus 36 in the 51 minutes they have played together this season.
Here are the takeaways…
- Brooklyn’s defense has improved since Vaughn took over as head coach, and it showed in the first frame. They held the Clippers to seven points for the first seven minutes of the opening quarter. Unfortunately, the Nets couldn’t take advantage as they shot just 29 percent from the field.
Their defense did lead to some easy buckets in the opening minutes that gave them a bit of a cushion but the Clippers’ Paul George took advantage of his size against Seth Curry to lead Los Angeles to a 7-1 run with three minutes to go.
- The Nets started the game 0-for-3 from three and it didn’t get much better as the first quarter went on. They finished 4-for-11, but the combination of Durant and Sumner gave Brooklyn a 24-19 lead after one.
Durant was 3-for-6 (2-for-3 from three) and had 11 points and three rebounds. Sumner was also 3-for-6 but 2-for-4 from downtown with nine points.
-Vaughn used the group of Harris, Curry, Patty Mills, Ben Simmons and Cam Thomas to start the second. The Clippers took advantage of this second group’s lack of size and offensive prowess to go on a 9-0 run and take a 31-29 lead with eight minutes remaining.
Simmons picked up his third foul in just nine minutes on the floor at the 5:30 mark in the second, which forced Vaughn to bring back his starters. With the first unit in, the Nets would go on a 9-0 run to build their lead back up. But some lockdown defense from the Clippers helped them go on a 10-4 run in the final two minutes as Los Angeles cut the lead to 54-50 at halftime.
Both teams shot better in the second quarter with Brooklyn (50 percent) getting the better of the Clippers (48 percent) but Los Angeles were able to hit their threes and finish and one plays.
- The third quarter for both teams was much more of an offensive affair from the first half. The Clippers went on a 8-0 run to take a 67-64 lead with seven minutes remaining in the quarter. The Nets would settle down defensively as both teams went back and forth for most of the third.
Brooklyn shot 50 percent in the third while after a hot start, the Clippers shot just 37 percent. Durant scored 10 points in the quarter (25 overall at this point) and really helped the Nets keep their 75-71 lead heading into the final frame. Sumner is the only player with double-digit points after three.
Five of the Nets' 10 turnovers came in this quarter and Durant picked up his fourth foul -- and a technical -- in this frame.
- Durant started the fourth quarter on the bench, with his four fouls, with the second unit who started the second quarter on the floor. The Clippers went on a mini run to tie the game at 77 and Vaughn was forced to call a timeout.
With seven minutes remaining, Durant came back in and the Nets offense/defense settled down again. Brooklyn went on a 15-2 run with four minutes remaining to give the Nets some breathing room. A lot of that run was from the defense as the Clippers continued to chuck up contested threes, leading to fast-breaks.
Curry drained back-to-back threes to give the Nets a 99-88 lead, their largest of the game at that point. He had 14 points in the fourth quarter. The Clippers emptied their bench with two minutes remaining and down by 16 points. The Nets would do the same shortly.
- Entering Saturday's game, since Oct. 31, the Nets’ defense has turned things around. They are first in in the league in points allowed (96.3) and first in opponents field goal percentage (40.1%) and that stood true today.
This is also the fifth game the Nets allowed less than 100 points, the team's longest streak since the 2014-15 season.
- Durant finished with 27 points, six rebounds and three assists while shooting 63 percent from the field. Curry finished with 22 points on 60 percent shooting, including 4-for-8 from three.
Brooklyn will continue their West Coast trip against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. EST.
Coach Jacque Vaughn announced prior to Saturday's game that Kyrie Irving will not be playing Sunday.