Today’s 95-92 Brooklyn Nets victory did not come without change. Kris Humphries, bumped from the starting lineup in favor of a look with Gerald Wallace at power forward and Keith Bogans at small forward, notched his first DNP-CD (Did not play-coach’s decision) of the season.
Johnson later noted that the plan currently is to have Wallace start at power forward for the foreseeable future, with Reggie Evans backing him up and Humphries filling in at power forward and center “when we need.” “60% of the league plays this way,” Johnson said about the smallball.
“I’m kind of used to playing at the 4, banging with the bigs, going and getting rebounds,” Wallace said about his new role. “I played a full season at power forward in Charlotte… Whatever helps the team win. If you look at the teams like Miami and New York, they’re playing small ball, and it’s giving them more opportunity to get in an up-tempo style of play. It’s something (Avery) wanted to try tonight.”
“It’s just the way things have been going,” Avery Johnson said about Humphries after the game. “I visited with him in my office before. It’s basically a coach’s decision — he’s healthy, he’s fine, he’s not in the doghouse. We just had to try something else.”
“This also helps us in transition defense, because we have smaller, quicker players on the floor, spaced differently. We’ll see where we go from here.”
The Nets only allowed two fast-break points all game from Philadelphia, an athletic team that has beaten the Nets on the break in multiple games in the past few seasons. The starting lineup was a +4 in 25 minutes together, notching 12 assists to just 2 turnovers.
Deron Williams also noted that the team won’t only improve in transition defensively, but also creating points on the break. “We can get out and run a little bit more, and we pose some matchup problems for people with him at the 4,” Williams said, while adding that Wallace’s passing ability makes him dangerous in the halfcourt.
The rest of the starting lineup seemed to welcome the change as well. “It opens up the floor a lot more,” said Joe Johnson, “makes us a lot more dangerous, having that extra shooter on the floor. Gives guys a little bit more room to penetrate and create.” Brook Lopez added that “it’s good for us. G(erald) has such a high basketball IQ, he can play pretty much every spot on the floor for us.”
Humphries, who reiterated on a few occasions that didn’t know that the night would end in a DNP-CD, was diplomatic about the decision. “I was obviously frustrated, but it’s about more than just one player.”