Nets Keep Rolling: Nets 91, Timberwolves 83 (Game Grades)

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Hit the game-clinching three-pointer with 1:15 left. I thought Williams had some phenomenal stretches attacking and creating. Having a limited by injury Ricky Rubio, limited by height J.J. Barea, and limited by talent Luke Ridnour checking him didn’t hurt, but he still played well. Other moments he seemed oddly invisible, but appreciate an all-around game that didn’t see Williams force bad offense.


Joe Johnson makes outside shots, swings the ball when he doesn’t have them, and abuses matchups when he has the advantage, and that is all I ask of Joe Johnson.

Gerald Wallace SMALL FORWARD

I don’t know what to make of Wallace. Sometimes I think everything he does goes beyond the box score, and that’s true. Sometimes I think his box score numbers are bad, and that’s true. Sometimes I think he gambles too much defensively, and that’s definitely true. This wasn’t a terrible game from Wallace, but he didn’t do a lot to surprise or affect tonight’s contest.

Kris Humphries POWER FORWARD

1-5 shooting notwithstanding, slowly starting to outplay Reggie Evans. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him re-take his spot in the starting lineup soon.

Brook Lopez CENTER

He’d better be named an All-Star reserve tomorrow.

Abused Greg Stiemsma into early foul trouble and later abused everyone else the Wolves put on him. Curiously sat for over 12 minutes in the first half even as it was obvious that the Wolves had no answer for him. Perhaps with three games in four nights, Carlesimo wants to rest him, but this wasn’t exactly a blowout. Threw down two ferocious dunks in the second half and hit a shot after faking two defenders to extend the lead to nine with under two minutes left.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Good & Evil Blatche both fully on display. When he sticks to basic principles — hanging around the basket, getting putbacks and dunks off dump-down passes — he’s great. When he tries to create offense on possession after possession by dribbling behind his back and shooting fadeaways… Not so much.


When he’s not making corner threes, he’s not useful. He was not making his corner threes. Doesn’t get an F because they were good shots to take — they just didn’t go down.




Hit big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter, and drew five fouls on J.J. Barea in about four minutes to fluster Minnesota. Out-pested the ultimate pest.


  1. The object of a basketball game is to have more points than your opponent when time runs out. There’s two sides to achieving this: 1) scoring points, 2) keeping your opponent from scoring points. These are of equal importance. Most of the focus of basketball fans is on the offensive end, rightly so because its much more exciting. Likewise, most of the focus of boxscores is on the offensive end. Although, by definition, offense and defense are of equal importance, it is often said–especially of the playoffs–that defense wins games. This is because we all talk and think offense and need the reminder.

    Only blocks and steals are in the boxscore for true defensive plays (in rebounds, the ball is loose). But they do not come close to measuring defense. A block is the same as a changed shot, a steal the same as any other forced turnover. Defense is best practiced through little and intangible things that don’t lend themselves to isolation and accumulation needed for stat keeping. How do you measure intimidation, irritation, ball denial, first step denial…the list does on. The answer is that you don’t measure it with cumulative stats, you just appreciate it by watching the game.

    So in a game where we hold a team averaging 94.4 points to 83 on its home court, we should be recognizing the defense when we evaluate the Nets’ performance. The Nets, like most great teams in the modern era, have guys who are in there for their defense–Evans, Wallace, Bogans. In a game like last night’s, why to they get 2 C’s and D?

    Did you see the first play of the game? Ricky Rubio thought he was going in for one of his clever plays ending in a lay-up. But Gerald Wallace came from half court to block it into a Nets rebound. Did you see how that shut down the Wolves for the next 5 minutes? Later in the game, when Rubio stole Wallace’s outlet and had a two-on-one with Wallace back, Wallace knew his intimidation left Rubio with no intention of laying it up and was there waiting for the behind-the-back, which Wallace outletted for a Nets break.

    In my book, having Wallace and Evans is a dream come true. The Nets have failed to put fear into their opponents’ offense for the last 10 years. Each year, I’d look at guys I wished the Nets could get and these two were near the top year after year. To me, when the other team is held 11 points under its average at home, these guys begin with an A and i you don’t think much of the rest of their game, fall to a B. That said, Bogans needs to hit his shots and gets a B-/C+ from me.

  2. Brrok sat a ton in the first half. Almost the entire second quarter. Found it odd seeing he had ten points in first quarter. After the last four years, I can’t tell you how good it feels to have your team play rather poorly and still walk out with a road win!! Love this year’s Nets!!! Brook is a lock tonight for All-Star. Deron and Joe will be getting some rest.