A rough first 30 minutes left the Nets down 68-55, but some big offensive plays down the stretch and the Jazz returning to earth after a hot shooting night kept the Nets alive and giving them a slim victory. It wasn't the best night for Brooklyn, and they gave Utah more than enough opportunities to capitalize on their mistakes. Luckily, the Jazz's inexperience -- plus an oddly long wait time in the fourth quarter before fouling the Nets -- meant the Nets won out.
Other than some hot shooting from the Jazz, the Nets did a decent job; they limited turnovers, forced the Jazz to make some tough shots, and (eventually) iced the game at the free throw line. This was a C-level game from Brooklyn, but it's all they needed.
Some big plays down the stretch from Williams, most notably a three-pointer to put the Nets up ten with under two minutes left. That came after he got an elbow to the face just minutes earlier.
Looked more involved early than he has most of this season. Attacked the lane, drew double-teams, and tried to create something with them. Looked quicker than usual, but still struggled after a couple of early shots and Trey Burke didn't look afraid of him.
Sweet two-handed kinda-dunk in the first half and used the glass on a nice turnaround jumper early in the fourth quarter, and he threw two particularly pretty passes (a no-looker to Kevin Garnett for a layup and a behind-the-back-whizzer to Joe Johnson for a key three-pointer) but a couple of oddly poor defensive plays in crunch time hurts.
Solid game for the seven-time All-Star; the Nets ran a lot of their early offense through Johnson in the post, and he delivered. Either hit floaters or found teammates (like a streaking Andray Blatche, and no, not that kind) out of those options. In the second half, played more spot-up options, and continued to deliver.
He opened the first half with a pretty above-the-break three, closed the first half by needlessly fouling Marvin Williams on a half-court heave with 0.1 seconds left (and it was his fault, he had no business even being there in the first place). A non-factor in the second.
If you haven't already, take a few minutes during one of Kevin Garnett's first- or third-quarter stints and just watch him exclusively. Let everything else roll past your eyes, don't watch the ball. Just watch how Garnett moves, directs, sneaks around offensively, and protects the paint with roaming horizontal strides.
Garnett wasn't incredible tonight -- he hit two midrange jumpers and did his best defending Enes Kanter, even if it didn't always work out. Andray Blatche kept him on the bench. But he just knows where to be, and for stretches, it's fun to watch.
Sometimes it seems like the basketball doesn't even want to go in when Blatche fires an ill-timed or off-balance jumper, and yet it just... keeps.. crawling... towards... the... bottom... of... the... net... and before you know it, the ball's crept around the rim like a hesitant caterpillar before flushing through.
After starting out with some unnecessary jumpers, Blatche caught fire, hitting a finger roll layup, looking for Lopezian open spaces, and letting the game come to him on offense. Matched a career-high with 25 points. You have to rely on Andray Blatche when a team worse than you is beating you.
Everywhere. Just everywhere. Flying around on defense and just making plays no one else could. Even when he gets caught behind a defense, he just keeps moving to try to make the play, and more often than not he does. Gambles when it makes sense to and makes touch passes other players would turn into turnovers. He can't shoot from further than his arms can reach, but he can change the game in so many other ways.
The way he played tonight, maybe the Nets could use Marcus Thornton. They should look into if he's available.
Shots came up short throughout most of the game until he hit two big ones in the fourth.