Note: since ESPN’s stats were screwy for tonight’s game, we’ll have a powered-down preseason version of grades tonight.
Hit a some easy three-pointers and played at a breakneck speed for most of the game. Spread the ball and pulled out some fancy ballhandling moves. Grade: A
Didn’t play much due to a developing foul situation (“foul trouble” is way too damning for a preseason game). Abused an early mismatch with Jrue Holiday and hit two spot-up threes off great ball movement in the third, but had an otherwise quiet evening. Grade: B
Even in preseason, Crash lives up to his name. It took Crash all of 67 seconds before hitting the floor for the first time, and later dove head-first after a loose ball into the Sixers bench. For flashes, he looked like the team’s best player; Wallace got to the rim often and was the recipient of a few Deron Williams feeds. Also played point forward on a couple of plays with Williams on the floor. Grade: A
Got a huge early dunk off a Deron Williams feed, but didn’t do much else. Grade: B-
If you believe preseason matters (and you shouldn’t), this was a very encouraging game. Lopez started slow with just three spot-up jumpers in the first, but then attacked in the post on play after play in the second. Gobbled up boards early and kept attacking through his minutes. Granted, he played much of the game against Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown, not Andrew Bynum. Defensively, Lopez didn’t do anything that would change your opinion of him, but did block a couple shots at the rim. Grade: A-
Hit back-to-back Rose-esque floaters in the second quarter and didn’t stop scoring. Got his points in the flow of the offense or in transition. Kept the offense coming in overtime, hitting threes and the clinching free throws. Grade: B+
Not a debut that would strike Fearza into your heart. Shot 1-9 in the second half and 0-6 in the fourth quarter (all from deep) as the Sixers erased a 17-point deficit (at least — that’s the largest I remember, but we didn’t get real-time stats from this game). Grade: D-
Attacked the basket and didn’t stray in his time on the floor. Deron Williams was openly looking to get him the ball when they were on together. Had some nice moves inside in the fourth and hit one key jumper with a hand in his face. Didn’t look like the Baltche I know. Grade: B
Four Things I Saw
1) First and foremost: preseason, ultimately, is meaningless. Teams are messing around with a lot of lineups, experimenting, and most importantly, the players know it doesn’t matter. The Sixers were down their best player (Bynum) and rested two other starters (Jason Richardson & Dorrell Wright). Royal Ivey started. So everything I’ve told you about this game, just know that it came from this game, and take it with a huge heaping grain of salt.
2) So with all that out of the way: the Nets first unit looked good. Wow, did they look good. They forced six turnovers in the first quarter (and I mean forced, not just “were the recipient of poor offense”), hit shots on the break, spread the ball, hit threes, and played with a solid synergy on both sides of the floor. Williams and Johnson found each other for three-pointers, Williams found Wallace at the rim, Humphries hit a huge dunk off a Williams feed to kick off the game, and the team jumped out to a lead in the first quarter and maintained it when the starters were on the floor.
3) Again, with point #1 out of the way: holy cow did the subs look bad. the Nets were up by as much as 17 (if not more) in the fourth quarter and allowed a furious Sixers comeback to send the game to overtime. Most of this was due to Mirza Teletovic bricking three after three in the fourth quarter and the Nets allowing Nick Young to… well, be himself. The bench did pull it out in overtime, thanks to C.J Watson and Andray Blatche scoring down the stretch.
4) Chants of “BROOK-LYN, BROOK-LYN” punctuated occasional moments throughout the night. Remember, we were in Atlantic City.