Net Worth: Nets 99, Cavaliers 96

New Jersey Nets 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Cleveland Cavaliers

Game Grades

DeShawn Stevenson, SG 25 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +1

I like this guy as a starter, but his game on offense is pretty predictable. He only takes 3s, so he either puts up 6 points and shoots 2-3 or puts up a goose-egg and misses 5. Played tough defense and didn’t turn the ball over, so I have no reason to complain. Although, at one point in my notes I wrote: “What is the point of 92 touching the ball?” and I can’t remember why…

Kris Humphries, PF 33 MIN | 7-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | +10

Forget MJ’s flu game. Played great basketball against two tough big men in Varejao and Jamison. Hustled and fought for rebounds all night, and was the most dominant man on the glass. Displayed some great range tonight, most of his points game on 10-15 foot jumpers and not on dunks, which I found… interesting?

Shelden Williams, PF 32 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +5

I am so glad this guy starts when Okur is down and is a fine fill-in for the current injury-prone starter. Plays with hustle and toughness, which the Nets haven’t seen from a starting center in a long time. You’d want more than 7 boards out of your starting center, but this guy isn’t actually a starter and he’s playing next to Humphries, so I’ll take it.

Deron Williams, PG 39 MIN | 9-18 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 27 PTS | +11

It’s gotta be that blue headband. Came out motivated and confident, found his shot and open looks left and right. Had a solid back and forth chemistry with Morrow as well. It’s obvious that D-Will is playing through a lot of frustrations with this roster, but he’s changed his game by being a team leader and taking over when the Nets trail. Like 5 other Nets wins, D-Will led the team in points and FGAs, putting the team on his back on the offensive end. Only stat that really bothers me is the 6 turnovers, which he needs to get under control. A lot of that comes from laziness and lack of focus. But, regardless, another lights out game from our point guard.

Anthony Morrow, SG 38 MIN | 8-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 22 PTS | +10

Established a nice connection with D-Will early, diminished as the game went on, but then came back in the 4th. Morrow actually was much more involved in the offense tonight, with the ball going through him around the perimeter. Defensively, he is much less of a liability on man coverage and did a good job limiting Anthony Parker. I would like to see him shoot better than 2-8 from behind the arc, but this was a solid Ammo performance.

Jordan Farmar, PG 24 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | +2

Provides nice energy off the bench and hits his buckets, but has a tendency to shoot the ball too much. However, anytime you can get an 11-7 game out of your backup PG, I will take it.

Shawne Williams, SF 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -7

Not really sure what he does. Supposed to be a good 3 point shooter, but actually isn’t. Not very tight on defense and was totally played by Jamison a few times from ten feet out

Five Things We Saw

  1. Hot start. For the second straight week, the Nets came out guns blazing and ready to roll. Deron and Morrow have a chemistry in place which is fantastic. The hot start is a complete contrast to pretty much every other game (besides Wednesday’s) this season and it just gives the Nets so much confidence. Now, they had some trouble maintaining it in the second half, but the offense is clicking and clearly on the right track to being a much better basketball team. They also now have 5 road wins, which matches their total from last season.
  2. Low post defense. Varejao is no superstar, but for the Nets to hold him to just 4 points tonight is a huge accomplishment to Humphries and The Landlord. The Nets are a much tougher team in the paint, due to the aggressive play of the current starting front court.
  3. Second and fourth quarter woes. New Jersey fell victim in the second quarter to very aggressive post defense by Cleveland (who often played 4 guys under the basket) and forced some bad shots around the perimeter. It was frustrating that the Nets could not carry their strong momentum from the first, and were lucky they played an equally struggling Cavs offense. In the fourth, it was even more head scratching, as the Cavs just came out prepping for a comeback and the Nets nearly let them have it. It was like the Nets assumed they had the game locked up and played loose defense, and Cleveland completely capitalized. They need much more focus throughout the course of a game.
  4. Stepping up. You have to love it when guys like Morrow and Shelden Williams step up in and play hard when starters go down. Morrow was shooting hot for most of the game and Williams did what he needed to do under the glass–play tough defense. The Nets are not at all a deep team, so when guys can rally around players like D-Will and Morrow, it makes for some exciting basketball.
  5. Keep taking those shots, D-Will. The Nets are now 5-0 when he scores over 24. Deron needs to just keep on shooting and letting himself get hot, because when he does, the Nets are scorching. (I did not just actually let myself do that.) Until the Nets get back Brook and Brooks, we need an offensive presence. And guess what? Deron is back to playing like the best in the biz.