|Gerald Wallace, SF 37 MIN | 3-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -8
Immediately outplayed DeShawn Stevenson. Hit a layup-oop off a Deron Williams feed early, had some monstrous blocks, drew fouls, played stellar isolation defense, and hit a buzzer-beating three to end the third quarter. Had trouble defending spot-up shooters — he collapsed into the paint more often than not defensively — and can’t make three-pointers above the corners, but those are the only complaints.
|Kris Humphries, PF 39 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 16 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | 0
Gustavo Ayon and Jason Smith gave him a hell of a fight, but Humphries won more often than not. Controlled the boards when the ball was in his zone, but can’t be the best big man on a front line.
|Deron Williams, PG 37 MIN | 9-24 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 12 AST | 20 PTS | -6
After a cold start shooting, D-Will played the distributor role, finding Gerald Wallace in transition and otherwise letting plays develop in the half-court. As the game progressed and he found his touch, he penetrated more and more into the lane and got a number of layups at the rim. Was headed for an A game until the final few minutes of the fourth, when he took the offense entirely into his own hands and threw bad shots into multiple defenders. Playing heroball is like hitting on 18. Sure, something great could happen. But you’ll probably lose. And it’s more random than you think.
|MarShon Brooks, G 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -12
After a rough night against Orlando, Brooks looked a little more like the MarShon we’re accustomed to. Didn’t take as many shots as you’d expect, but he functioned in the offense — getting in the lane, finding open teammates (he and Shelden Williams have an odd connection), drawing fouls, and hitting one open three. Defense is another matter entirely.
|Anthony Morrow, SG 25 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +9
We normally use the term “on fire” to refer to a player hitting an inordinate amount of shots, more than we’d expect them to make. In that sense, Anthony Morrow wasn’t on fire tonight. He made exactly the type of shots I expect him to make. He just happened to get some phenomenally good shots off good ball movement and flare screens, and he knocked them down. Just can’t do anything else.
|Gerald Green, SG 25 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | -9
Caught fire in the second quarter, hit team’s first 9 points (12 overall) on jumpers and free throws. Attacked the lane and scored both in spot-ups and off the dribble. Got so high on a block late in the fourth that I 100% believe that the refs didn’t call goaltending out of respect. He won’t be forgotten, but his defensive liabilities mean he won’t prevent Gerald Wallace from the starting role.
Four Things We Saw
- Two things kept the Hornets in this game: Chris Kaman and the rag-tag group of Hornets backup bigs scoring inside, and the Hornets (particularly Marco Belinelli and Jarrett Jack) hitting perimeter shots. Jack’s weren’t particularly great looks, but Belinelli’s were mostly open all game. The Nets played well enough to hold those two things at bay through 36 minutes, but then fell apart in the final 12. Ultimately two shots, neither of them particularly good shots, killed the Nets: Jack’s three at the top of the key, and Belinelli’s crazy one-footed 27-footer to put the Hornets up six.
- The Nets are now 6.5 games out of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining. And they couldn’t beat the 10-34 New Orleans Hornets at home. Without Lopez, this team isn’t chasing a playoff spot.
- Gerald Wallace is Dwight Howard compared to DeShawn Stevenson. YES showed two graphics during the game, one listing Nets’ small forwards since Richard Jefferson left, and the other listing starting small forwards in Avery Johnson’s tenure. The latter made Mike Fratello sarcastically remark “nothing wrong” and laugh. Through three quarters, Wallace was the second-best player on a good team.
- On one play in the second quarter, MarShon Brooks thought he saw an opening for a steal and abandoned Marco Belinelli in the right corner. Chris Kaman ( who had the ball at the time) raised the ball out of Brooks’ reach, pivoted, and fired the pass to the open Belinelli, who buried a 3 he could’ve spent the entire shot clock preparing. Then, in the third quarter, Brooks gambled on a bad steal attempt that looked straight out of NBA 2K12, got caught well behind the play, and Belinelli hit another 3. One of the great basketball tenets is to play the man, not the ball; Brooks failed at that assignment tonight.