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.
MarShon Brooks is a bit of a darling for Brooklyn Nets fans: undeniable offensive talent, smooth, smart, fun to watch, but can't seem to stick in the rotation. Against the Detroit Pistons, Brooks put together one of his best halves of the season: attacking the lane, hitting a four-point play, and looking like he belongs in the rotation. The Nets ended the half with a 59-45 lead, Brooks with 8 points on 3-3 shooting, adding two blocks. Watch:
I was pretty panicked about the state of the Nets a year ago. And I still contend I had every reason to feel that way. The superstar defensive stalwart center the team had been chasing all year had just opted to finish the season in Orlando while indulging in a bowl of his “favorite candies” (I think at this point, it’s become a prerequisite for every rant of mine to mention Dwight Howard ACTUALLY being bribed by candy to waive his opt-out clause – good luck with this clown LA). On the same day, the Nets traded their lottery pick (with minimum protections) for a month-long rental of a nearly 30-year-old player who’s nickname was “Crash” based on his reckless, bone-crunching style of play. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were expected to become free agents – unrestricted and restricted respectfully. And the team’s best player under contract going into the following season was a toss-up between a one-dimensional gunner (Anthony Morrow), or an all-offense, no-defense rookie who had lost the confidence of his coaching staff (MarShon Brooks).
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MarShon Brooks gets fancy, crossing up Eric Gordon (though admittedly, Gordon only fell because Brooks stepped on his foot), and then lays in a slick layup under Robin Lopez's arm. Some nice first-half minutes for Brooks. Watch:
However, Carlesimo stressed that tonight would probably look different for Brooks:
"It was matchups," Carlesimo said of sitting Brooks. "It's just a question of what the matchups are like. I think tonight will be different. It'll depend on who they start, too, but tonight it'll probably be different."
"I'd still like MarShon to get some playing time, in a perfect world. It's really more still looking at individuals and figuring out who's going to be in the rotation and who's going to be out."
Brooks has averaged just 7.5 minutes per game in five March games, after averaging 11.6 minutes per game in his 50 previous games.
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 →
According to Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times, Brooklyn Nets interim head coach has shortened the rotation to 10 players, and that the ten-man rotation includes... MORE →
Kris Humphries was informed this morning by PJ Carlesimo that he's out of the rotation, according to a league source
— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) March 6, 2013
Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (sore heel) will try to be play tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, but is ultimately a game-time decision. The six time All-Star hasn't played in the last three games since experiencing discomfort in his heel on the second night of back-to-back games with the Milwaukee Bucks on February 20th. He was inactive at home against Houston and Memphis last week, and did not play a minute of action despite dressing against New Orleans on Tuesday.
Johnson told beat writers that he was willing to give it a shot.
Marshon Brooks (sore wrist) is also a game=time decision. The second year guard sat out of practice yesterday due to the injury.
Nets guard and elder statesman Jerry Stackhouse will be inactive for the second straight game tonight against Dallas.
The Brooklyn Nets announced today that guard MarShon Brooks did not practice today because of a sprained right wrist. It's unknown at this point how the injury occurred but one can speculate that Brooks's hard drive and eventual crash landing in the first half of Tuesday's 101-97 win vs. the Hornets may have been the cause. No announcement has been made on Brooks' status for Friday nights tilt against the Mavericks.
Also not at practice: Nets veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse has yet to play since Brooklyn's 106-119 loss in Houston on January 26th, but Friday's loss to New Orleans was the first time that Stackhouse was listed as "NWT" ("not with team") for personal reasons. There has been speculation that Nets GM Billy King has suggested that Stackhouse remain inactive for the time being in order to allow MarShon Brooks to get more playing time and be further evaluated. Though inactive, Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo is hoping for a Stackhouse return in the playoffs as Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News reported Tuesday.
Also coming out of Nets practice; Joe Johnson feels "optimistic" that he will play tomorrow night:
Joe seems optimistic about playing but wouldn't say definitely #Nets
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) February 28, 2013
Here is the official tweet from Nets PR about Marshon Brooks and Jerry Stackhouse:
MarShon Brooks did not practice today (sprained right wrist).Stackhouse NWT (personal).
— Nets PR Dept. (@Nets_PR) February 28, 2013
Never short on confidence. Brooklyn Nets backup guard MarShon Brooks remains confident in his abilities, telling Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that he could average 20 points per game with the proper minutes:
Bench-dwelling and inconsistency haven’t cracked the confidence of MarShon Brooks, whose two-year career has traveled through the NBA wringer – from rookie revelation to sixth man to bench warmer to trade chip.
“I still believe in myself,” Brooks said. “I still believe if I got the minutes I could score 20 points per game.”
Brooks is averaging 16.8 points per 36 minutes this season on 46.8% shooting from the field, but averaging just 10.9 minutes per game through 48 contests this season. He has improved on most of his per-possession stats this season after a solid rookie year.
Brooks later told Bondy that “I don’t really mind where I play basketball, I just want more of an opportunity than this year," before noting that he'd love to have the opportunity to play in Brooklyn, which he called "the best situation in the NBA."
Brooks is not the first Nets backup guard to exude similar confidence -- two years ago, former Nets guard Sasha Vujacic infamously said he could "score 20 or 30 points anytime (he) want(s)."
Read more: MarShon Brooks hasn't lost the swag