I have a theory I think of as the scorer's paradox.... MORE →
Despite Blatche's solid play against his former squad, Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo was concerned about stretching Blatche out that much, citing his conditioning as an issue.
"Dray was the only (player) I felt bad about (playing so many minutes), and frankly, he needs conditioning," Carlesimo said. "So I thought it was okay. He needs some conditioning. ... We kept saying, we could've put MarShon back in and played Toko at 4 and played small. It wouldn't have bothered me to do that.
"But we just thought Dray was going good, and the conditioning was good for him."
Blatche finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 9-21 from the field. Though he made some big plays down the stretch -- including scoring through contact to put the Nets up for good with under a minute left -- he admitted that playing so many minutes wasn't something he was accustomed to.
"I mean it's surprising when you play 37 minutes, compared to playing 12," Blatche said after the game, before stammering a bit: "It caught me off -- I mean, it wouldn't catch me off -- it did, it did catch me off guard.
"When you play 12 minutes, then you go out there for 37... it caught me a little bit."
Blatche, who was exiled from Washington via the amnesty clause after numerous brush-ups with the law and the franchise, again reiterated that the win matters just a little more than others.
"(Winning) meant a lot for me," Blatche said to laughter from the media.
In game 81, with four of five starters, Role Star Hip Hop Keith Bogans, and immortal skeleton Jerry Stackhouse all sitting out with various "ailments," The Brooklyn Nets still pulled out a 106-101 victory over the Washington Wizards, thanks to the greatest, most absurd bench mob performance ever. Between a 20-10 game from Andray Blatche that barely begins to describe his night, a 20-9 game from Kris Humphries, Tornike Shengelia's first career double-double, Tyshawn Taylor's 3-for-3 night from deep, and Mirza Teletovic's two threes, the Nets barely missed their starters.
Watch the bench mob in its most glorious performance of the season:
With just two games left until the regular season closes, the 47-33 Brooklyn Nets will likely rest their best players en route to the playoffs, but our contest plugs on: another chance to extend your streak in "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak predicting how well the Nets will do in each game for a chance to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!
The game is as simple as it sounds:... MORE →
With just twelve games left in their inaugural season in New York City, the Brooklyn Nets have clinched a playoff spot and are on their way to somewhere between the third and sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. They've got a talented enough roster to beat most teams in the East (the Miami Heat excluded -- sorry), but have struggled with inconsistency this season: an 11-4 start followed by a 3-10 collapse followed by a coach firing followed by a 12-3 start to the interim coach's career... you get the idea. It's been a roller coaster.
But: there is the potential for a smooth ride into the playoffs. Here are five things the Brooklyn Nets can improve on heading into their first postseason in Brooklyn.
|Start Here: 1 of 5|
After three full weeks without leaving the bench, even when healthy or in garbage time, Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries made his return to the rotation Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, logging first-quarter minutes over Mirza Teletovic as the first power forward off the bench. Humphries responded positively, swatting a shot off the backboard that led to center Andray Blatche leading the break and setting up guard C.J. Watson for an open 3.
Watch, of only to hear Chris Carrino compare Blatche to Magic Johnson:
Check out the advanced box score from last night's 113-96 Nets victory over the Mavericks here.
A few takeaways from last night's game:
- First and foremost: Check out these two shot charts.
Pretty similar, right? The first is Lopez's shot chart in his game last season in Dallas, when he put up 38 points in a 93-92 victory. The second is Lopez's short chart from last night's game in Dallas. Lopez took care of offensive business in nearly the exact same fashion: hanging around the rim, shooting just one or two jumpers, and dismantling Dallas's interior defense with cuts to the basket and post-ups that Chris Kaman didn't know how to defend. Too bad they won't face off in the playoffs.
- Similarly encouraging: Lopez's 11 rebounds, 18% rebound rate, and seven big offensive rebounds. The Nets and Mavericks shot nearly identically from the field -- 50.6% from Brooklyn, 50% from Dallas -- but the Nets picked up nine more field goal attempts, many thanks to those second chances created by Lopez.
- I've said it in this space before, but it bears repeating: Deron Williams being great is starting to get mundane and I love it. He got a bit lucky hitting consecutive midrange jumpers in the fourth quarter, but Branch Rickey once said that luck is the residue of design. So, solid design, Deron Williams. A 31-point game in his hometown, a continued trend upward of shots at or near the rim, and another solid game from beyond the arc? Good start to this road trip.
- Mark Cuban's struggle face is now my new favorite face:
I do not have the ability to make GIFs. I'm counting on you, internet.
- Another exciting thing: the Nets were down 10 after the first quarter and won by 17. That type of comeback never happened in previous years. You could often tell the direction of a Nets game after the first 12 minutes, and if they went down 10 last season after one they'd basically pack it up. Not anymore.
- Worth noting that the Mavericks attacked Lopez and Blatche inside -- as most teams do -- but shot a below-average mark from within five feet (14/26). Usually I think that Lopez is a good man defender in the post but struggles on help; last night I thought the opposite was true.
- Andray Blatche scored 14 points, all in the second quarter on perfect 6-6 shooting, because Andray Blatche is an indescribable maniac. He hit a fadeaway over Dirk Nowitzki and the space-time continuum began to rip.
- Mirza Teletovic and MarShon Brooks were the first two players off the bench (with Keith Bogans), played about a two-minute stretch in the first quarter... and then sat until garbage time. Neither player did anything of consequence in either stretch.
- The Big 3 of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez was a +13 in seven minutes when they shared the floor with Role Star Hip Hop and three-point/defensive wing specialist Keith Bogans. I'M JUST SAYING.
- Reggie Evans rebounded 42% of all live rebounds and 66% of all defensive rebounds available when he was on the floor. The league average is 10%. Yawn.
While you may disagree on the order of importance, any reasonable fan, analyst, or writer would agree that Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez are the three most important players to the Brooklyn Nets. Each player serves as an important fulcrum to the lineup, which is why the Nets play sparse minutes without at least one of them on the floor.
Because of that, I decided to take a look deeper into the numbers, to see how the Nets play when the "Big 3" share minutes with the team's role players. Specifically, I wanted to answer this question: how is the starting lineup best handled with the team's best players?
Because of that, I took a look at five Nets players who have the best chance of shaking up (or getting shaken out of) the rotation as the season winds down. Using the team's plus-minus when the Nets "Big 3" shared the floor with those players as a baseline, here's a list of what I think are the best role players to have in the lineup with those three guys.
Before we look at those five players, here's a list of (dis)honorable mentions... MORE →
Brooklyn Nets backup center Andray Blatche is one of the more unconventional scorers in the NBA: rather than a straight back-down or spot-up game, Blatche relies on numerous fakes and creative moves to find small slivers that he can shoot into. Watch him grab an offensive rebound and sneak his way to the opposite side of the basket for a one-handed scoop layup.
MY DINNER WITH ANDRAY
in a film presented by
THE BROOKLYN GAME
[Mark Ginocchio is walking along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. On the right is the Atlantic Terminal mall and across the street is the Barclays Arena. We hear his voice commenting the action, as a narrator would. This narrating voice will be labeled MARK’S NARRATION to distinguish it from Mark’s actual words within the story]
... MORE →