Nets blow past fast-paced Suns

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments
Shaun Livingston, Miles Plumlee

Shaun Livingston & the Nets flew past the Phoenix Suns in Brooklyn. (AP)

Hello McShelvin. Happy St. Patrick's Day, and Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. After you've recovered from your safe and responsible night, pick up a new shirt over at The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us alive. Thank you!

Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivities.


What happened: On an Irish-themed St. Patrick's Day in Brooklyn, the Nets felt the luck and the execution, leading wire-to-wire and blowing out the Phoenix Suns 108-95. It's their ninth straight win at home, their longest such streak since 2006.

Where they stand: At 34-31, the Nets hold on to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. They're a half-game behind the Washington Wizards (35-31) for the fifth seed, and 3 games behind the Toronto Raptors (37-28) for the Atlantic Division lead.

That Was... One of the most entertaining Nets victories of the season: barring just a few glimpses at a single-digit lead by the Suns, the Nets strung together solid offense and rim-rattling highlights, looking more Showtime than slow-time with a variety of highlight-reel dunks and moves.

They didn't play much faster in the aggregate -- their pace of 95 possessions was only slightly above their season average -- but they maximized their offense early. They converted 20 fast-break points, more than double their season average of 9.4. In their half-court offense, the ball moved faster from side to side, opening up looks and attacking lanes. They hung an incredible 44 points in the paint in the first half, nearly eight more than their season average for an entire game.

"It was the gameplan," Deron Williams said about the paint scoring. "They're 29th in the league in points allowed in the paint. We tried to take advantage of that. They don't have a lot of shot-blockers in there, so we were just aggressive going to the basket."

Game Grades: Read 'em here.

"ENOUGH, DEVIN. FEED ME HIGHLIGHTS"

Williams put together arguably his finest performance of the season, hitting 11 of 13 shots en route to a dominating 28-point performance. It wasn't so much the number as the ease: he put down attacks, mid-range jumpers, and three-pointers alike. His crossover looked as lethal as ever, his confidence was at an all-time high, and even his shot chart was Irish.

Oh yeah, he also dunked:

This was Williams's first dunk on the season, though there was some debate about its actual dunk value. Williams was, without question, the star of this game.

HOLY GERALD GREEN:

Sorry, Mason Plumlee. But a guy named Green with "hops" can't be tamed on St. Patrick's Day.

Historic:

Despite Miles having the better year, Mason out-dueled his brother in the battle of the Plumlees, putting up his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes.

I also learned before the game that the Nets wanted Plumlee to dunk on his brother, and were willing to give him a charitable sum to do so. He didn't exactly do that, but he did slip behind him early for this jam.

Luck of the Irish: There was a distinct Irish feel to the game's introductory moments. A band of bagpipes kicked off the starting lineups (which, hilariously, mixed with a Dr. Dre song.). An Irish Tenor sang the national anthem. Green shirts peppered throughout the arena, including on "TJ the DJ" (the team's in-house DJ).

It also led to arguably the greatest picture of Mike Fratello ever taken.

Alex Len, Blatched:

where's the ball guys

Shaun Livingston, Doin' Things: Most editions of Shaun Livingston, Doin' Things involve a sweet dunk, or an unconscionable deflection that changed the course of the game, or some other shocking display of athletic ability. But today's edition is comprised of just two numbers: 1617 and 506. 1617 for the amount of minutes Livingston's played this season, and 506 for the amount of points he's scored. Both are career-highs, eclipsing the numbers he set in 2006-2007 prior to his destructive knee injury that kept him out of basketball for 18 months.

It's hard to put that thought in context. For 18 months, Shaun Livingston couldn't do the thing he could do better than all but about 200 people in the world, because of a cruel twist of fate that left him wholly incapacitated. Now, he's breaking barriers from his past every day. It's a remarkable, heartwarming story, one of the best in the NBA this year.

Okay, Fine, Here's Shaun Livingston, Doin' Things:

Dunking on Miles Plumlee ain't half-bad for anyone.

My Thoughts At The Half: THIS GAME IS SO FUN.

Was it that fun? It really was. There were highlights on both sides of this one, so much so that it was just hard to keep up sometimes.

This Really Happened:

Jorge, Temprano: After learning earlier today that he'd get a second ten-day contract, Jorge Gutierrez got some first-quarter minutes spelling Shaun Livingston in the first quarter. He held his own, running the offense, making simple, smart plays, and picking off one downcourt pass like a free safety.

"I wanted to see if he could play," Jason Kidd said after the game. "I don't just want to sign someone for 10 days or 20 days and not give him the opportunity to play; it's not fair for us or for him. I felt in a game like this, there was an opportunity. (The Suns are) going to put a lot of pressure on the perimeter with their guards, so I wanted to see what he could do. I thought he did a great job."

Garnott: Kidd announced before the game that Kevin Garnett would sit out the rest of the week and will be re-evaluated on Saturday.

Joe, Jesus:

Click for the GIF.

Click for the GIF.

Joe Johnson had a quietly good all-around game, putting up 19 points (7-11 shooting), five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block without turning the ball over. The last part is an underrated trait of Johnson's: despite how often he can dominate the ball, he rarely plays out of his own limitations and comfort zone, and can create a shot without losing the ball against some of the league's better defenders. And sometimes he just embarrasses the hell out of a dude.

Quote of the Night:

"I’m going to give (the dunk) to him. He’s gone up about three times now with great courage.

-Mason Plumlee on Deron Williams's dunk.

Next up: The Nets are home all week; they'll practice Tuesday in preparation for a Wednesday night affair against the surprising Charlotte Bobcats. At 33-35, the Bobcats hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Nets by 2.5 games.