It's hard to come out with a more listless effort than the Brooklyn Nets did Friday night, getting torn asunder by the Detroit Pistons rapidly and ruthlessly. The Nets trailed by 13 in the first quarter and it only got worse from there, losing a laugher in Detroit.
The Nets main lineups struggled with defending the interior all night, as the Pistons attacked the post and the paint with impunity.
Give the "White Flag" bench lineup credit for bringing the Nets within a striking distance in the last few minutes, even cutting the lead into single digits with under two minutes left, but ultimately it wasn't enough.
Williams struggled in a new way tonight. Most times when he's struggled in a Nets uniform, all of his on-the-ground moves are there (if a bit sloppy at times), but his shot's been off. Tonight, Williams didn't shoot badly (though he left a couple of three-pointers short), but his on-the-ground moves and decision-making were severely lacking.
I'd grade D-Will higher than this if he wasn't the team's floor leader and point guard, but the biggest tell: Williams left the game with three turnovers and without an assist in 25 minutes, the first time he's played more than five minutes in a game without recording an assist since his rookie season. For the franchise's face, that is not acceptable. Wherever his confidence is, I hope he finds it, and brutally destroys whatever stole it.
The only shot he made was a circus shot in the first half that went in by accident. After setting a career-high with seven steals and a career-tying high with four blocks in his last two games, you expected him to fall off a bit. Indeed, he shouldn't hit that short midrange jumper as much as he does. But he was just about as awful as everyone else tonight.
Hit two threes to buoy his shooting percentages in the third quarter. That's about it.
Clearly outmatched by Josh Smith and the Pistons made a concerted effort to get Smith the ball with Pierce on him. Pierce couldn't make him pay on the other end. (Though to be fair, it wasn't just Pierce getting blown up by Smith -- he was scoring on everyone.)
A+ for proving how inept the Nets are at defending the paint when he's not playing.
Thoroughly deconstructed in the paint and on the glass by Andre Drummond in the first half and early third quarter. Blatche's ineffectiveness defending the paint exposed just how crucial Garnett is to this team's pack-and-switch defensive scheme, something Blatche just can't do.
Did some little things -- for example, immediately upon entering the game, Kirilenko's length bothered Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into an airball, one of Detroit's few missed shots. But little else.
Had some decent defensive possessions when the game was out of hand, but shot nothing like the guy who dropped 22 on the Spurs.
0-5, 0-5 from 3.
Give him credit for working his butt off in the second quarter, but he doesn't stand a chance in the paint against Detroit's front line.
Got a few fun dunks in there in garbage time but looked rough whenever he had to dribble and did about as well on Andre Drummond as you might expect a late first-round rookie center to do.
As unplayable a guard in the NBA as there is these days, until the Nets get down by 15 or more, in which case he becomes Ray Allen.
Was as not terrible as I've ever seen him play, which is... something. Hard to judge the minutes because they came in a stretch that seemed relatively meaningless except for a brief few seconds near the end, but hard to complain about that performance from someone who's basically taken Tyshawn Taylor's role as small benchwarmer.