Though Anderson is technically filling in for Pierce at "small forward," he and shooting guard Joe Johnson are mostly interchangeable on the wing. Mirza Teletovic will likely also see time at small forward, as he has in recent games.
Though Anderson can occasionally take bad shots, sliding him in to replace Pierce is the smart move with both Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko sidelined. Hard to believe that he was the 15th man, or the last signee of the Nets offseason on July 30th.
Anderson will likely also suit up at the wing Thursday against the New York Knicks, which worked out for him well last year -- when Kidd, then a player for New York, saw him light up the Knicks for 35 points:
Unless you've been living under a Coca-Cola waterfall this past week, you probably heard about Nets coach Jason Kidd's now-infamous soda trick. Kidd told Tyshawn Taylor to run into him holding a drink to cause a spill, earning his team a bonus time-out in crunch time against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Coaches and players alike have weighed in, most supporting Kidd (Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni excluded), but that didn't stop the NBA from fining Kidd $50,000 for his antics. That's a fine that former New York Nets coach (Yes, that's how long ago he coached the team) Kevin Loughery thinks is ridiculous:
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This occurred within the span of a minute: Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic bullied Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Miller in the post, hit a short jumper over him, grabbed a defensive rebound, trailed the play, and knocked down a big three-pointer in rhythm. The five-point swing ended with an emphatic chest-bump and the Nets up six with 8:24 left in the fourth quarter.
Teletovic struggled last year, whether the Nets gave him playing time or not, and less than a week ago he told The Brooklyn Game he wasn't sure if he had a role on the Nets. Since that day, Teletovic has played 68 minutes over three games, averaging 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and hitting 9 of 18 three-point attempts.
The Nets have a bit of a logjam in the frontcourt, with Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee, Reggie Evans, and Teletovic healthy. Evans has been the recent odd man out, and Teletovic has seen brief time at small forward with Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko sidelined. When (if?) the team gets fully healthy again, Teletovic's playing time will go down with everyone else, if he's not marginalized from the rotation completely. But the way he's spacing the floor, it's hard to keep him off for long.
But even in the darkest timeline, there's a little light at the end of the tunnel. It's no excuse, but the Nets have played arguably the toughest travel schedule in the league.
Through 17 games they've played just six at home, and have yet to play a single back-to-back home game set yet. They're the last team in the league to play two straight at home.
That'll finally change this week, as the Nets host the Denver Nuggets Tuesday and the New York Knicks Thursday, before hitting the road again. But it'll be brief: 9 of the team's next 12 games and 21 of the next 33 games are at home at Barclays Center. At 7 games under .500, this next 12-game stretch could be crucial.
The Nets have their fair share of problems, both on the court with defensive philosophies and off the court with injuries. But perhaps a little continuity and a little less travel, they can continue the climb back to respectability that began Saturday night against the Grizzlies.
In the fourth quarter, the Brooklyn Nets laid waste to what was a fifteen-point lead at one point, letting the Grizzlies claw back to within two points and make a game out of what was teetering on the edge of a blowout. With their backs against the wall, the Nets played a simplified offense run through Brook Lopez to perfection, and it ended in a 97-88 Nets victory.
Lopez struggled early in the first quarter in the post, hitting one of his first six shots in post-up situations and struggling mightily with Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos's length and strength. The one shot he did make in the post was a turnaround jumper from 15 feet in the first quarter, rather than pounding his back into the basket.
With Lopez fatigued, Kidd pulled him and Kevin Garnett gave him a pick-me-up as Joe Johnson ran the offense, floating between Iso-Joe and offensive Flow-Joe (Flo-Joe will probably not take off as a nickname.) In the middle quarters, the Nets used Andray Blatche for long stretches, who both did good, sane things (offensive rebounding, manning the paint) and good insane things (hitting a career-high three three-pointers, creating off the dribble from the three-point line for a layup. Indeed, Blatche scored 17 of his 21 points in the middle quarters, playing more time in the second and third than Lopez.
Then, when the Nets needed to maintain a lead in the fourth quarter, they went straight to Lopez, who played one of his best stretches of post play in his career.... MORE →
It's just one game, so it's too soon to say that Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett is "back." But boy, did Kevin Garnett look good last night. His stat sheet wasn't eye-popping -- eight points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block in 28 minutes of play -- but as the Nets wanted from the 37-year-old forward, his impact went beyond the numbers. Garnett hit a few big midrange shots down the stretch, showcased his classic "goaltend the shot after the foul" move, broadcasted his trademark intensity on both ends of the floor, and talked center Brook Lopez through a rough stretch in the first quarter on the bench.
Garnett also hit shots when the Nets needed it. After the team dealt with a rough third quarter and a double-digit lead cut down to two in the fourth, Garnett played the entire fourth quarter, hitting two jumpers and anchoring the defense with Brook Lopez. On a team that's lacked a communicator over the last two seasons, Garnett's got to fill his role and produce a solid effort night in and night out. Saturday night may have been the first time he put that all together in one game.
Got booted to the bench in favor of Tyshawn Taylor, not that that's necessarily a bad thing or a demotion: Livingston's already a bench player and hasn't played particularly well in the last few weeks. Didn't have a discernible impact.
Hit some midrange jumpers, played a little sprier on defense than in previous nights, and provided some of that classic KG intensity on the floor in the fourth quarter. Looked more like the KG the Nets thought they'd traded for. Didn't have a big stat line, but that's kind of the point. And man, how sweet would that putback dunk would have been? He had the lift, the space, the timing, and it just smacked back rim.
He'd rank as of the league's smartest players if "knowing when to shoot" was not a thing in basketball. Lots of good decisions on both ends of the floor, but when he had the ball in his hands, he just took brutal shots.
Red-hot in the first quarter, hitting open and contested shots alike out of isolation looks. Scored 16 of the team's 24 points in the open frame and hit a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter off Brook Lopez passing out of a double-team. His shooting in the first carried them early.
Weird how he can easily outplay Dwight Howard one night and then struggle with Kosta Koufos's length the next, but basketball is a weird game. Forced the issue on offense and struggled to get position in the paint early, but then started to dominate in the fourth quarter: the Nets went through Lopez possession after possession in the fourth, and he delivered with a variety of soft-touch scores and passes out of double-teams. Gets a demotion because of his brutal first-half play, but the Nets don't close this one out if they can't go through Lopez in the fourth.
There is nobody harder to grade on a game in and game out basis than Andray Blatche. If he were a chef, he'd season and cook a 24-oz Porterhouse to perfection and then garnish it with a bowl of raw salmon. Blatche had an excellent first half, hitting two threes (that he probably shouldn't take), attacking the offensive glass, and scoring around the rim. He wasn't perfect -- a play when he grabbed an offensive rebound, saw a triple-team, and tried to score instead of hitting an open teammate sticks out -- but if he plays like this, he'll deserve his minutes instead of tripping backwards into them.
Got first-half minutes and didn't earn second-half minutes.
Earned his first career start and played the way that got him there: relentlessly attacking the rim as soon as he got an inch of separation. Unfortunately you can't take a mile if you're given an inch in the NBA unless you're one of the best guards in the league, and Taylor's not at that level. More drives than not ended fruitlessly and with Taylor on the ground.
How about that confidence? Some big fourth-quarter threes from the second-year forward, and even a post-up fallaway floater that kissed the rim. This is the Mirza Teletovic the Nets thought they signed, and if he keeps shooting like this, it'll be hard to keep him off the floor no matter what position they put him at.
The Brooklyn Nets didn't have a lot of athleticism last year, and their point guards this year have struggled with injuries. No more problems there. Watch as point center Andray Blatche lofted an alley-oop from beyond the three-point line a little too high, and Mason Plumlee, the seven-footer with the 36" vertical, reaches high above the rim to slam it down.
Injury Report: Paul Pierce, who was listed as doubtful with a bruised right hand, is OUT. Deron Williams (ankle), Jason Terry (knee), and Andrei Kirilenko (back) all skipped the team's road trip and will not be in the arena.
Starting Lineup: Tyshawn Taylor, Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez.
When & Where: 8 P.M. EST, FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN.
Watch: YES Network, NBA TV (National)
Listen: CBS WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM