Check out the box score from last night’s game here.
Some brief advanced-esque takeaways:
- Deron Williams’ assist rate of 50.9% is one of his highest percentages of the season — meaning he assisted on over half of his teammate’s baskets when he was on the floor — and also came in one of his best scoring outputs. Don’t let the pedestrian-looking 5-12 fool you; Williams hit three of four threes and all six of his free throws, making for a very efficient true shooting percentage (which accounts for the value of three-pointers and free throws) of .649.
Though Williams did draw contact getting to the lane, he still only attempted two shots from within the restricted area and only made one from within 15 feet — that pretty give-and-go floater with Kris Humphries in the first quarter. Check out his shot chart:
Williams has taken notably fewer shots in the restricted area than in years past, and despite his effectiveness, last night was no exception.
Even considering that, last night was hopefully a breakout game for Williams, who just looked like a reborn point guard; Williams pushed the ball up the floor much more quickly than in games past, whizzed passes to open teammates, and perhaps most importantly, hit his outside shots.
- I said before the game that the Nets could make this one close by exploiting the Thunder’s two major, interconnected weaknesses: forcing OKC to turn the ball over and then pounding them in transition. They didn’t get many fast-break points (the official count was only 7, though that seems low), but Brooklyn turned OKC turnover water into Nets points wine. The Thunder committed 19 turnovers last night, 11 from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook alone, and it was again Deron Williams leading that charge; Williams took advantage of Westbrook’s over-aggressiveness, stripping him at precise moments, and played passing lanes to perfection. He picked up two steals in the final six minutes, both times batting the ball out of Westbrook & Durant’s hands as they tried to drive the lane and create comeback baskets.
Some of OKC’s turnovers seemed oddly bumbling for the league’s best offense, dribbling off legs and just losing the ball without pressure. But not every team takes advantage of those opportunities. The Nets did.
- Brook Lopez used over 30% of Nets possessions when he was on the floor and still shot 65%. Lopez played the inside-outside game really well, hitting four of his six midrange shots (all open looks) and six of his nine attempts from within five feet. Lopez was again the benefactor of some Deron dimes, getting six good looks to drop off Deron Williams assists from all over the floor.
- Finally, of course, Joe Johnson tore up Oklahoma City last night. Johnson and Kevin Durant had oddly similar statlines across the board: 11 field goals, five rebounds, three assists, one steal for Johnson, 11 field goals, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals for Durant. But the big difference, again, came in controlling the ball. Johnson, normally a control freak with the ball, turned the ball over only once despite playing 40 minutes and possessing the ball for much of that time. Durant, who played 41 minutes, finished with six turnovers.
Johnson’s total statline was reflective of his best game of the season. For one of the few games this season, I expected every one of his shots to go in. It was just that kind of night. Open shots on the wing? Check. Fadeaway corner threes? Check. Floaters in the lane? No doubt. Even though Johnson’s went into “Iso Joe” mode a bit too much — he logged 10 possessions in isolation last night, according to Synergy Sports Technology, shooting 3-7 while drawing three fouls — they were smart isolations where Johnson exploited a mismatch and got an open look, and the Nets got more than enough of Spot-Up Joe and Post-Up Joe to offset any potential isolation issues.