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Joe Johnson vs. DeMar DeRozan

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by Max Weisberg Comments

 

Will DeMar DeRozan soar against Brooklyn? (AP)

Will DeMar DeRozan soar against Brooklyn? (AP)

By the numbers

Joe Johnson: 79 G, 79 GS, 32.6 MPG, 15.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, .454 FG%, .401 3P%, .815 FT%, 15.5 PER
DeMar DeRozan: 79 G, 79 GS, 38.2 MPG, 22.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, .429 FG%, .305 3P%, .824 FT%, 18.4 PER

Breakdown

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Even though the Nets thrashed the Detroit Pistons last night, they still sit 2.5 games behind both the Chicago Bulls (4th seed) and Toronto Raptors (3rd seed) for home-court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

With the Raptors off tonight and the Bulls playing at Washington, the Nets have a chance to gain some ground if they can do what the world expects them to do in Philly tonight: win.

Though the Sixers have just 17 wins this season, one of them came against the Nets back on December 20th. Of course, that was a different Nets team and a different Sixers team: since January 1st, the Nets are an Eastern Conference-best 31-13 while the Sixers are near the Eastern Conference cellar at 8-38.

Here's three things to watch ahead:
Next

 

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd (AP)

Of the 12 new head coaches hired last summer, the Nets picked the most inept choice. He's the worst coach in the NBA. He doesn't do anything. His clock is running out.

Fast forward a few months, and Kidd has led the hottest team in the Eastern Conference since January 1st and won two Coach of the Month Awards. Things sure change fast, huh?
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Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce & the Nets travel to Boston for the final time this season. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets travel to Boston tonight to face the Celtics for a chance extend their winning streak to five games.

Brooklyn Nets

Breakdown

 

Boston Celtics
30-29 Record 20-41
7-3 Last 10 Games 2-8
103.1 Points scored per 100 possessions 98.6
104.2 Points allowed per 100 possessions 103.6
94.07 Possessions per game 96.07
45.2% Field goal percentage 43.4%
36.4% Three-point percentage 32.6%
47.4% Rebound percentage 50.1%
15.4% Turnover percentage 16.0%
Joe Johnson (15.0) Top Scorer Jeff Green (16.8)

 
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The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

Yes, the Nets were playing the now 11-47 Milwaukee Bucks. Yes, they only won by nine points, BUT: a win is a win no matter how you slice it. Give credit to a team that looked like they wanted no part of Milwaukee's cold and empty Bradley Center for eking out a win in what might have been a trap game.

Smooth offense, handing out 23 assists on 37 made field goals while only turning the ball over 11 times. Defense was a different story: without their anchor Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn wasn't able to string together enough stops to turn this game into the blowout it should've been.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Looked spry offensively and defensively. The Deron Williams who looks for his shot is the good Deron Williams. Probably more noticeable that his aggressive offense: his aggressive defense. Ever since the All-Star break, Williams has been a new player on not just the offensive end, but the defensive end as well. In fact, he's averaging over 2.5 steals per game since the break.

He also held Brandon Knight -- a hot scorer coming into the game -- to just 14 points.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Livingston -- the guy who was told he might need his leg amputated just several years ago -- had six dunks tonight. Yes, one of the starting point guards dunked the ball six times.

Made quick decisions, used his length to bother the Bucks on offense. A typical Livingston game that we've all been accustomed to watching this season.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

Looks lost, confused, and possibly hurt.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

Started to heat up in the third quarter, taking advantage of mis-matches but made his impact on this game as a rebounder and a facilitator.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

If only he and Jason Collins could be morphed together so that the best skills and abilities from each player will all be put into the new morphed player. He'd be an All-Star.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

Let's try a Metta World Peace-like analogy for Kirilenko: when he's not in the lineup, the Nets are just a plain burger with two plain buns. When Kirilenko is in the lineup, the Nets are a succulent, juicy, whopper with lettuce, cheese, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup and mayo.

Tonight, Kirilenko showed why he's so important to the Nets' success: his precision passing, aggressive  defense and constant attacking on the offensive end.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

Desperately needs to understand difference between good shot and bad shot. Otherwise, he was rather ineffective tonight and it looks like the addition of Marcus Thornton will slowly diminish Anderson's playing time as the season winds down.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

Fouled Giannis Antetokounmpo on a three and received technical right after. Hit a three in the corner to put the Nets up 11 with 10 minutes left in the game. Nothing to see here.

Marcus Thornton SHOOTING GUARD

MARCUS THORNTON BROOKLYN BREAKOUT GAME ALERT. Seriously, how in the world did Billy King trade Reggie Evans and Jason Terry for this guy? Thornton was sensational tonight. In fact, he was everything the Nets had hoped they would get out of Jason Terry before the season began: a bench scorer capable of scoring 20-25 points on any given night. Like the 25 he had tonight.

He played within the offense and of his 13 field goal attempts, maybe two of them could be considered bad shots. Well done, Marcus. Well done.

Jason Collins CENTER

Collins won't ever score 20, 15, or even 10 points. He won't grab nine, eight, or even seven boards on most nights. He will though, provide the "glue" that the Nets sorely missed earlier in the season. Collins played eight minutes tonight and the Bucks front line really felt those eight minutes that Collins was on the court. Didn't do anything significant other than his usual: setting hard screens, defending the post, back-tapping rebounds.

He's someone who the coaches trust and that is his biggest asset.

Mason Plumlee CENTER

Picked up his third foul in the 2nd quarter and only played 11 minutes as the starting center. One of the few times this season he's looked like a rookie.


 

Kenyon Martin

It's impossible to forget Kenyon Martin's intensity. (AP)

2003-2004 Stats: 65 GP, 34.6 MPG, 16.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 48.8 FG%, 28.0 3P%, 68.4 FT%
2003-2004 Advanced: 52.8 TS%, 49.2 eFG%, 18.7 PER, 99 ORtg, 93 DRtg, 6.7 WS
All-Star Team? Yes
Team: 47-35, lost in second round to Detroit Pistons (4-3)
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Kenny Anderson

Kenny Anderson, driving past Penny Hardaway. (AP)

1993-1994 Stats: 82 GP, 38.2 MPG, 18.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 9.6 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 41.7 FG%, 30.3 3P%, 81.8 FT%
1993-1994 Advanced: 49.1 TS%, 43.2 eFG%, 18.2 PER, 106 ORtg, 106 DRtg, 7.5 WS
All-Star Team? Yes
Team: 45-37, lost in first round to New York Knicks (3-1)
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Mirza Teletovic

Mirza Teletovic has been a bright spot off Brooklyn's bench. (AP)

Mirza Teletovic scorched the Dallas Mavericks for a career-high 34 points on Friday night, including 24 points in the second quarter alone.

“There’s a lot of open space,” Teletovic said after the game. “We have so many shooters, we have Joe (Johnson) standing in one corner, Paul (Pierce) standing in another corner, so they’re like, ‘OK, let’s leave the guy from Europe open, maybe he’s not going to make it.”

It's possible, but unlikely that opposing teams are disrespecting Teletovic due to his limited NBA success (although Dallas newspapers are). NBA coaching staffs have one main responsibility: scout, scout, and scout some more. It's tough to believe that opposing teams disregard a 42.6 percent three-point shooter because of his nationality.

Teletovic has picture-perfect form, backspin on his jumpshot, tremendous lift on his shot release, and newfound confidence under coach Kidd. But just as important, he's the beneficiary of playing alongside players that command respect from opposing defenses, as well as exceptional coaching that allows him to get wide-open looks with regularity.

Let's take a look at how Teletovic burned the Mavericks for a career high seven three pointers.
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Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, is being sued for $600 million over the use of the name "Brooklyn Nets," Radaronline.com is reporting. From Business Insider:

RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that the rapper and businessman has been named as a defendant in a $600M lawsuit by a disgruntled entrepreneur who claims that he trademarked the name “Brooklyn Nets” long before the NBA team ever moved out of New Jersey. The Nets were also named as defendants in the suit.

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Amir Johnson; Paul Pierce; Alan Anderson

Paul Pierce (AP)


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DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan skies high for two of his 26 points. (AP)

Even Jason Kidd's tie-less appearance couldn't give the Nets enough juice to push past the surging Raptors at Air Canada Centre on Saturday, dropping a 96-80 loss in Toronto on "Drake Night."

With the undefeated record in 2014 out the window, the Nets have much to prove over these next few weeks. Was the five-game stretch just "fool's gold," as Bill Simmons mentioned on ESPN's pre-game show before the Nets beat the Heat and The Brooklyn Game's Devin Kharpertian wondered, or is it a sign of future success?
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After LeBron James drove down the lane on a fast break, pushing off of Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic wrapped up James, sending him into fury.

It didn't appear as though there was any malicious intent on Teletovic's part, and after James exploded in his face, Teletovic just smiled and laughed.

Teletovic was assessed a flagrant-one, allowing the Heat to gain possession as well as a free throw.