Crunch Time Loss: Warriors 93, Nets 86 (GAME GRADES)


The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

The Nets stumbled out of the gate in both halves, but some strong play from their reserves kept this close throughout. Some terrible crunch-time decision making led to a banked-in Stephen Curry 3 and two Nets turnovers, and the Nets dropped this one.

Overall, not the worst showing from start to finish, but they couldn’t hit three-pointers (not a normal weakness), and couldn’t control the interior (a very normal weakness). They need help, and tonight was another example of that.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

His crossover looked lethal once again, scorched the net with midrange shots (which he’s sneakily done at one of the league’s best rates this year), and he even had some stretches of impassioned defense against Stephen Curry. This looks eerily like Deron Williams from mid-February 2013, and if that’s what’s getting started, the Nets are in for a nice few months.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Shaun Livingston hitting the ground hard is the least appealing sight in the NBA. Livingston left the game early with a bruised tailbone and did not return. X-rays were negative, which is a good sign. We’ll see if he plays vs. the Lakers.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

Not a lot created out of the Joe Post, and didn’t get going except for a brief moment in the fourth quarter, hitting a big three-pointer as Kevin Garnett got fouled for an unconventional four-point play. But with the ball in his hands, Johnson turned the ball over twice in crunch time with the game on the line, and it spelled doom for the Nets.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

Incredibly quiet until 6:05 in the fourth quarter, when he hit a tough shot over Steve Blake & Jordan Crawford in the low post for an and-one. But too many shots hit the front rim, which is a bad sign for Pierce’s legs.

Kevin Garnett CENTER

Started out the game with a really rough possession, passing up two chances for quick open layups and instead airballing a post-up opportunity. Jermaine O’Neal torched him defensively, but that’s not all his fault: as the center, it’s his responsibility to help all over the floor, and Garnett wasn’t getting any help from his teammates.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Good Blatche is so good. Helped erase an early deficit with some smart play on both ends of the floor. Was the recipient of a pretty Deron Williams feed in the first, and also nabbed two on-ball steals that let him play point guard. Kept it going in the second by Blatche-Shaking and Blatche-Stepping on Marreese Speights, who may be the only player in Blatche’s realm for big man absurdity. His prettiest play might have been a nifty feed to Alan Anderson in the second quarter, whipping a no-look feed to Alan Anderson at the rim.

Bad Blatche is so bad. Defensively, Blatche had some good possessions when he was already near the basket, but really struggled when he had to stray away from the paint.

Hit in the face in the third quarter by a Jermaine O’Neal elbow, and plugged his nose with a nose plug. That might seem obvious, but not for Andray Blatche.

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

Everywhere as usual. Even when he gets beat, he’s not beat, as evidenced by his blocked shot on Harrison Barnes in the first quarter — Barnes spun around Kirilenko, looked like he had just one player to beat, and Kirilenko snuck around Barnes’s side to toss away his layup.

With Livingston injured by a bruised tailbone, the Nets started the third quarter with Kirilenko in his place, and he made two passes no other Nets player has the gall to make: a 60-foot outlet pass to a streaking Mirza Teletovic — who was guarded, mind you — for a layup, and a cross-court pass to Alan Anderson in the fourth quarter.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

Hit the team’s first three-pointer in the third quarter, so that’s something.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

Had a nice block in the first quarter and ran the floor better than Andray Blatche but when he’s not hitting shots his value plummets. The Nets need help with interior defense and he’s one reason why.


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