Nets Hang On: Nets 108, Lakers 102 (GAME GRADES)


The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

They can never just make it easy, can they? After racing out to a 27-10 lead and keeping Los Angeles at bay, the Nets started falling apart late in the fourth quarter, perhaps feeling fatigue after playing just last night and sitting three of their players (not including Brook Lopez).

They ended hanging on by the skin of their free throws, but the fact that they even let the lead evaporate to that point is a testament to their late-game issues.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

One of his best games this season. Looked really fast. Usually that’s not a surprise, but with Deron Williams, it’s just good news.

Picked up his first 30-point game of the season with torrent shooting from outside, particularly in the midrange, even hitting off-balance jumpers and floaters in the lane with ease. Had a surprisingly solid impact defensively that ended with a career-high six steals.

The last guy with at least 25 points, 7 assists, and 6 steals in a game for the Nets? None other than Jason Kidd, 11 years ago to the date on February 23rd. Good company.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

Created a shot early out of the Joe Post and drew defense as a threat but really hung in the background to let Williams and Paul Pierce lead the way. Hit a key corner 3 to finally finish the last rack in the Three-Point Shootout.

Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

Incredible start to this game, hitting his first five shots and leading the Nets to a rocket-fast 27-10 start. Got in the lane with ease around statuesque Lakers defenders and got free for open three-pointers with ease. Incredible, easy offensive game for Pierce.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Your nightly Blatche moment:
In the third quarter, Blatche was in the midst of setting a screen on thin air when he received a pass he wasn’t ready for. Blatche’s hands, seeing the chance for the ball in their hands, instinctually perked up, grabbed the ball, dribbled once, and fired an off-balance seventeen footer. He buried it.
This has been your nightly Blatche moment.

(Mostly bad Blatche.)

Andrei Kirilenko SMALL FORWARD

Picked up three steals in three minutes in his first start in a Nets uniform, grabbed a fourth in crunch time, and continued his night-in-and-night-out role of playing all over the floor on both ends. Ended with a sneaky double-double, putting up a career-high in rebounds for the second straight night.

Lot of fun to watch him drive to the basket. It’s like staring at a haunched hawk on skates.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

Hit both of his threes, so, that’s good.

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

In a game where noted shot-chucker Nick Young played on the other side, it was weird how much Teletovic reminded me of him. At one point, Teletovic caught a pass on the perimeter, whipped around, and fired a three while barely getting a chance to look at the basket. It was incredible.

That’s not a knock — in the third quarter, Teletovic fired and buried two more three-pointers at the end of the frame, pushing a dwindling Nets lead back into double digits. Big shots.

Jason Collins CENTER

Welcome to Brooklyn, Jason Collins. Collins entered the game at 9:37 P.M. EST, and immediately made his impact felt with a big screen on Jordan Farmar to create a mismatch and pulling-the-chair on Chris Kaman to force a turnover. Soon committed his first foul on an illegal screen, making history.

Seriously, it was hard not to watch him on the floor, even when he wasn’t involved in the action. And he actually played good, smart defense! Hit the floor for a loose ball, rotated well, set good screens, back-tapped rebounds, and generally looked like a rotation NBA player. He has some things he can teach Andray Blatche, which, just imagine him having a conversation with Andray Blatche. He had a little trouble catching the ball, but that’s not rust, that’s just Collins.

The original Plus-Minus All-Star finished with a +9, highest of all bench players

Mason Plumlee CENTER

He definitely brings the energy and the reverse dunks. With Kevin Garnett sitting out to rest, Plumlee earned the start over Andray Blatche and Jason Collins, opened the game by barely missing an alley-oop attempt after winning the tip. I just think it’s cool that he out-ran the entire Lakers defense to get there. Started the second half by actually putting a ferocious dunk down. Overall played energetic if misguided defense.

Marquis Teague POINT GUARD

Got some first-quarter minutes with Shaun Livingston sitting out and didn’t mess up the team’s overall ball movement. Had more struggles in the second half, particularly on the defensive end.