Closing On A Good Note: Nets 107, Bucks 98 (GAME GRADES)


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 ┬ádefense 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.