Comeback Falls Short: Lakers 99, Nets 94 (GAME GRADES)


Mason Plumlee CENTER

Some huge minutes for the high-flying rookie center, who put up some crazy dunks and blocks alike on both ends of the floor. His energy is palpable on both ends, even if his execution still needs work at an NBA level. I said earlier this year that Plumlee’s success was indicative of Brooklyn’s struggles. While that’s true, you still can’t deny that success. He’s looking more and more like a steal at 22 every game.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

Not a good sign that the Nets began a big second-quarter run once he & Kevin Garnett left the floor. Got posterized by Wesley Johnson in the first half, and tried to follow it in the second with a poster attempt of his own to no avail. Did have a couple of slick moves to get shots at the rim, but a mostly quiet effort. Struggled in crunch time, throwing away one pass, taking a poor shot with a little over a minute left and the team down two, and missing the game-tying three as time basically expired.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Invisible.

Kevin Garnett POWER FORWARD

On one play in the second quarter, the Lakers ran Robert Sacre — hardly an offensive weapon — in a pick-and-roll. With Sacre’s defender Andray Blatche “showing” on the screen, ensuring that the ballhandler couldn’t drive to the basket, the Nets needed Garnett to slide over and help contest Sacre rolling to the basket. Except Garnett stayed tied at the hip to his man, inoffensive threat Jordan Hill, and Sacre rolled to the rim for an easy layup.

But whatever adjustments needed to be made at halftime, he made them. Garnett bullied Lakers post guru Pau Gasol on the block down the stretch, making key defensive stops and playing more like the KG of old. After the rough first half, it just wasn’t enough.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

Was in the team’s crunch-time lineup, which even with the injuries is saying something. He’s a good shooter, if not always a smart one, but did make the smart play and drive to the basket for the easy 2 with ten seconds left and the team down 3 in regulation than force a bad 3-point attempt and likely get nothing.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

The Nets have begun riding Johnson more and more as he finds his stroke, and though it’s paid dividends for his offensive game, the team’s still struggled to fill in around him. Tried to get a foul call on a layup with a minute left and the team down two to no avail.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Had a frightening moment in the third when he came up limping on a shot attempt, but had a solid game otherwise. Bullied Jordan Hill inside and threw a couple of passes from the midrange area that were reminiscent of Kevin Garnett. He and Garnett struggled with communication on defense, though, and the Lakers got some high-percentage looks as a result.

Tyshawn Taylor POINT GUARD

Decent, athletic, solid defense, and ran into Jason Kidd to spill his drink. Standard Tyshawn game.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

MIRZA! Even in the loss, some great moments from Teletovic. Added on to Tuesday night’s playing time with first-quarter minutes, even hitting a three in the first quarter and sprinkling a couple more in the second half. He also got some decent play inside, drawing fouls on floaters and post-ups, and one huge block on a dunk attempt. After not knowing two days ago, it looks like Teletovic finally has a role on this team. Glad I asked.