|DeShawn Stevenson, SG 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -8
Hit threes that looked just like every other three he'd taken this season. He has this uncanny ability to hit threes in important games that he has no business making. Annoyed Carmelo Anthony to no end, though Melo struggled scoring even when he had good looks.
|Kris Humphries, PF 44 MIN | 5-14 FG | 4-7 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | 0
Took all that vitriol from the Garden, took the bumps from Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony, and turned it into a positive output. Didn't back down, but didn't get himself into trouble with the referees, either. Kept his cool, snared so many huge rebounds down the stretch, and put in that big three-point play in the fourth quarter. Big-time performance.
|Shelden Williams, PF 31 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -8
An A+ effort for Shelden Williams standards, which is a B for NBA standards. Can't complain about the Amare poster -- I'd be madder if he didn't contest it.
|Deron Williams, PG 34 MIN | 10-22 FG | 10-12 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 38 PTS | +12
I don't think I've seen a better quarter from New Jersey Deron Williams than the third tonight. He took this one personally. After getting tossed around by Jeremy Lin two weeks ago, starting the improbable, ridiculous, unthinkable story known as Linsanity, Deron had as much bounce in his step as we've seen all season, attacking the rim, flying off screens, knocking down three-pointers, finding teammates in corners. Deron & the Nets forced Lin left to his weak hand, not jumping him or doubling him early, and limited his effectiveness in a major way. And offensively, uh, eight threes says it all.
|MarShon Brooks, G 37 MIN | 7-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS | +12
A four-point play, athletic layups, alley-oops… welcome back to effectiveness, MarShon Brooks. The Gentlemen's Nick Young tag suits you well, like a swanky bow tie.
|Sundiata Gaines, G 16 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | -3
With Deron Williams limited in foul trouble, Sundiata Gaines controlled the pace, hit shots, and played under control. D-Will set the house on fire, but Gaines held off the hoses.
|Johan Petro, C 20 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +20
Given his talent level and general ineffectiveness, he made some very good decisions today. He found Deron with a great pass late in the shot clock for a three in the first quarter, played long without fouling, and didn't look completely useless when Tyson Chandler sat out with foul trouble. He definitely can't do it consistently with other legitimate seven-footers on the floor, but he usually can't do it either way.
|Anthony Morrow, SG 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +20
Got four teeth knocked out on a hit to the face, got called for a travel on that play, and then scored the final five points. You get an A+ for that alone.
Five Things We Saw
- That third quarter reminded me why I love basketball, why I sit in front of my television and in the stands agonizing over terrible teams, watching terrible lineups, and holding out hope through terrible moments. Because for a brief stretch of about four minutes, I could not control my emotions as Deron Williams decimated the New York Knicks, shredded Jeremy Lin, silenced Madison Square Garden, scored 18 points, and stretched the lead from 7 to 18 in less than four minutes. Jeremy Lin may have electrified New York, but Deron Williams just shot the lights out.
- This was as intense a game that the Nets have played all season. Tyson Chandler and Kris Humphries throwing jabs, elbows, and insults at one another. Dunks, threes, screams everywhere. This game, in a season of irrelevance, in a season where no individual game really feels like it matters, was as intense and worth watching as they come. This is the second step in a budding rivalry (the first being the birth of Linsanity, of course) that only projects to grow.
- Absolutely proud and impressed with the composure exhibited by Kris Humphries tonight. Didn't jaw at the referees, didn't go after Tyson Chandler, didn't trip Carmelo Anthony, just played the same physical game we're accustomed to seeing from Kris Humphries. One of my followers commented on how he used Humphries's example in the face of elbows, taunts, and not-so-clever fanbases raining "YOU SUCK!" down on him to teach his child about how to handle negative situations. (And okay, the shush thing after the free throw was pretty awesome.)
- It felt like the Nets completely shut down Jeremy Lin and he still put up a 21-9-7 with four steals.
- One final note: it's always a sweet victory when the Nets take down their cross-town rival, but it's doubly so when they do it without their star center. You can't expect 38 points out of Deron Williams every night, but I hope the intensity he brought tonight isn't an aberration.