Note: having some technical difficulties with our regular Game Grades. Here’s a powered-down version.
DERON WILLIAMS: B. Played well in the first half (outside of one just bad pass to Brook Lopez that he threw out of bounds) before a nasty ankle turn near the end. Returned in the second and didn’t appear to have any ill effects, but also didn’t leave a significant impact on the game.
JOE JOHNSON: B. Had some nice looking buckets going towards the basket and one huge late three-pointer that he hit from roughly 11 billion feet out, but you could tell he was under the weather.
GERALD WALLACE: A. Played the entire second half, almost exclusively at the power forward position, even after getting a technical early in the third quarter. And it worked. Great defensive game, smart offensive game, and grabbed the game-clinching rebound.
The matchup certainly worked, as the Bulls were down PF Boozer and C Noah, and didn’t play Mohammad in the second half, but it’s absolutely a lineup worth seeing against bigger matchups as well.
BROOK LOPEZ: A-. Ran the floor (and yes, occasionally did some cherry-picking) with aplomb in the first half, and kept getting dunks and close shots throughout the third quarter. Didn’t play in the fourth, but with the way Blatche was scoring, it wasn’t an oversight — just a game flow decision.
ANDRAY BLATCHE: A. Earned every fourth-quarter minute by going towards the basket instead of away from it wth some smart positioning and quick post moves, including: a nice shoulder dip as he snuck past Taj Gibson, a Dream-esque shake under the basket that faked two defenders into jumping — twice, and a key and-one basket near the rim through Gibson. Enormous man with an enormous effort.
KEITH BOGANS: B-. Played awful with the reserves and well with the starters. Would’ya look at that!?
MARSHON BROOKS: A. Hit a pretty floater after faking Taj Gibson out of his shoes. Followed it up by taking the Bulls off the dribble and hitting Lopez with a pass after a mid-air shot fake for an easy slam. Later, entered the game in the fourth and scored or assisted on the first 11 points of the quarter. Brooks hit an absurd layup with some fancy spin, a three with a hand in his face, and a pull-up jumper in transition that was, frankly, a bad shot. Blocked a Jimmy Butler dunk at the rim.
After P.J. Carlesimo essentially said that he wouldn’t have a role in this game, Brooks entered the game after nine minutes of play, and was the best Nets player off the bench tonight. Encouraging game.
C.J. WATSON: B+. Hit two of the game’s biggest free throws to put the Nets up 93-89 with 11 seconds left and didn’t actively ruin the game flow when playing with or without Deron on the floor.