Against the Cavs in the first half, the Nets had a great first quarter. The Nets held the Cavs to under 20 points in the first quarter and had a 7 point lead at the end of the quarter (this was the Nets biggest lead of the season after 1 quarter). The Nets ended up losing the game in the second and third quarters though, getting outscored by 16 points in those two quarters before playing even with them in the fourth.
The Nets did a very good job on the offensive end, their ball movement looked crisp, and they were getting open looks. But in what seems to be the theme of the Nets' season, they just couldn't knock them down. Securing defensive rebounds were also a problem. After the jump, we are going to look at a couple good plays and a couple bad ones, breaking them down.
Old Devin Harris
Every once in a while, we get a glimpse of the Devin Harriss from last year. Just check out this video clip, he pushes the ball so hard that when he beats his man, there are no Cavs there to help, this results in an easy lay-up:
Getting Brook The Ball
For a three game span, teams were able to take Brook Lopez out of games by fronting him. Against the Cavs, the Nets showed a few wrinkles that they used to get Brook the ball and prevent the fronts.
The first thing that they did was use ball and player movement (not just Brook either) to get Brook Lopez in a position to score.
After some ball movement, the ball gets to Yi at the top of the key. Remember when Josh Boone used to get the ball here? Yeah, that sucked.
Yi swings the ball to Devin Harris and goes to set a pick for him. Notice how all of the defender's eyes are focused on this pick and roll, and not on Brook Lopez, who is starting to slide into good position on the low block.
As Yi rolls, you have Hickson following him, worrying about Yi getting the ball rather than helping deny Brook.
As Brook makes the catch, Hickson finally turns his attention to Brook, but it is too late, as he makes his catch on the block with room to work. With time to make a move, Brook puts a great dropstep move on Shaq, getting the bucket.
The next is a play that the Nets have been running since the Knicks game to get the opposing center on Brook's back.
What the Nets have been doing is setting a backscreen for Brook Lopez. This isn't designed to get Brook a wide open lay-up. The design of this play is just to chip Brook's man, to prevent him from fronting him. The beauty of this play is who the Nets use to set the screen. CDR is one of the Nets best shooters, so he is always a threat to pop off the screen to the foul line and hit an open jumper. Because of this, LeBron James or anyone else, can't help on Brook's cut off the screen, they need to stay with CDR.
On this particular play, Shaq gets a sniff of what is going on (Probably because it was pretty successful against the Knicks, so they could have been looking for it). So he tries to cheat and get over top the screen before Brook gets through it.
Brook recognizes this and cuts backdoor for the lob. Devin sees it and throws the pass, this leads to another dunk for Brook Lopez.
Getting The Defensive Rebound
Teams have been killing the Nets on the offensive boards recently. Now some of it has to do with luck, but some of it has to do with fundamentals.
Here, LeBron makes the pass to Mo Williams as J.J. Hickson slides in to set the screen. Yi does a great job of noticing that Devin got caught in the screen and switches it. Closing out hard on Mo Williams.
This switch means that Devin Harris is responsible for boxing out J.J. Hickson, trying to keep him off the glass.
Devin doesn't box out, he just turns and looks for the ball (this is something the Nets too way too much). This specific play is even worse because the Nets have two guys to box one.
Both Nets just continue to stare at the ball as Hickson flies past both of them to get the rebound.