If the New Jersey Nets are to accomplish a feat they haven’t
reached in more than two years, they’ll have to do it without
superstar point guard Deron Williams.
The Los Angeles Clippers won’t have their leading scorer, and
they’ve been waiting even longer for this sort of winning
Williams will miss his second straight game Friday night while
tending to the birth of his child when New Jersey hosts Los
Angeles, which again will be without Eric Gordon.
Missing Williams on Wednesday, the Nets (20-43) beat Golden
State 94-90 for their third straight victory behind 26 points and
10 rebounds from Brook Lopez. New Jersey hasn’t won four
consecutive games since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009.
Williams, averaging 15.8 points and 15.2 assists in five games
with the Nets, is expected to rejoin the team Saturday.
Lopez helped make up for the missing production with his second
straight double-double, which he hadn’t done since March 24-26.
”The team definitely fought through on this one,” Lopez said.
”I knew we’d pull it out just because of the way we were playing
defense. We were getting stops.”
Anthony Morrow added 22 points, and Kris Humphries had 11 and 15
rebounds for his career-high fifth consecutive double-double.
”Our big guys were terrific,” said Sasha Vujacic, who had 16
points. ”We were able to limit their shots and easy buckets.”
Lopez scored a team-high 24 points Nov. 15 in a 110-96 victory
against the Clippers.
Blake Griffin hasn’t scored less than the 11 points he had in
that contest since, though he came close in a rough performance
Los Angeles (25-40) beat Eastern Conference-leading Boston
108-103 despite only 12 points and seven rebounds from Griffin on
4-of-14 shooting. Griffin had recorded a double-double in eight
straight games prior to Wednesday.
The Clippers have won a season-high four straight following a
stretch in which they lost 12 of 14. They haven’t won five in a row
since Nov. 2-12, 2006.
Mo Williams scored 28 points, his most in five games since being
acquired from Cleveland.
”There’s so much attention to Blake, but you win as a team,”
coach Vinny Del Negro said. ”The reason we’re playing a little bit
better is that we have weapons.”
However, one of those weapons may not be around any time soon to
help extend the winning streak.
Gordon, who scored 30 points in the November meeting with New
Jersey, re-injured his wrist Saturday against Denver. He’ll miss
his third straight game Friday, and Del Negro said he isn’t sure
when Gordon will return.
”Let’s just see how he responds to the therapy,” Del Negro
said. ”It’s his shooting hand, so it might make it a little more
difficult. But all signs point to him returning. But when? That’s
DeAndre Jordan scored a season-high 21 points, his most since
tying a career high with 23 on Jan. 12, 2010.
The Nets have not swept the Clippers in a season series since