Coming out of the draft, one of the knocks on MarShon Brooks was that he was a gunner, not a particularly solid team player, and though he got "baby Kobe" comparisons was more routinely derided as another version of then-Wizards guard and current 76er Nick Young, known for shamelessly shooting his way through games and shooting teams out of them. I was a little more bullish on Brooks's passing ability, calling him instead the more refined "gentleman's Nick Young," and I stand by that comparison.

There was nothing gentlemanly about this though, as Nick Young could do nothing but stand by and watch as the self he could have been tore past him for a two-handed slam.

 

Joe Johnson, Evan Turner

Joe Johnson (AP)

Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson is listed as a game-time decision for tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets announced today. After missing five games with a quad contusion and to rest his sore heel, Johnson returned to the lineup and scored 27 points on 9-27 shooting in two games. According to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, Johnson feels there's a good chance he'll play, but he's not sure.

Backup guard Keith Bogans is officially out with a tight lower back, meaning that if Johnson is unavailable, there's a good chance second-year guard MarShon Brooks would start. Brooks scored a career-high 27 points (VIDEO) on 12-16 shooting and dished out seven assists (tying a career high) in his only start this season, a 113-95 Nets victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 3rd.

Tonight is the first game of the second-to-last back-to-back the Nets will play this season. They play the 76ers in Brooklyn tonight before traveling to Boston to face the Boston Celtics tomorrow.

 

Brooklyn Nets guard MarShon Brooks played a little over 36 minutes last night, ending with the best night of his career. But how does his performance last night line up with his season averages per 36 minutes? John Hood investigates, providing us with the below infographic:

 

Yes, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Cavs are still a professional basketball team, and Brooklyn Nets guard MarShon Brooks put up a career-night, hitting his first ten shots en route to a 12-16 shooting night, finishing with a career-high 27 points and tying a career high with 7 assists.

Brooks finished a few plays with his sneaky athleticism -- he's not immediately explosive but has an extraordinary wingspan for his size (6'5" in shoes with a 7'1" wingspan) and has a maximum vertical leap around 38.5". His composure was also a theme throughout the night; even when a shot didn't seem readily available, Brooks took as much time as needed without wasting it to find an open look for himself or others.

With Johnson and Wallace still in doubt for tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls, we may get a chance to see what MarShon Brooks can do against a stingier, top-level defense.

 

Deron Williams

Deron Williams, dunking. No, really. (AP)

Nobody solves a problem like Cleveland. The Brooklyn Nets capitalized on an opportunity to make franchise history, blowing out the Cleveland Cavaliers by the end of the first quarter and guaranteeing a winning record on the road for the first time since the Nets joined the NBA. The game was never in doubt -- Brooklyn, led by an explosion from guard and smooth operator MarShon Brooks, scored a season-high 66 points in the first half, finished with a season-high 31 assists, ran the lead as high as 34 points, and cruised to a dominating 113-95 victory.... MORE →

 

In an interview with Alyonka Larionov of Barclays Center TV, Brooklyn Nets swingman MarShon Brooks talks about everything from his relationship with his parents to his propensity to talk trash on the court. Also in the 7-minute interview, Brooks talks about his growth-spert in high school; going from a 5'10" point guard to a 6'4" shooting guard, saying that it definitely helped to propel him to the next level.

More: BCTV Presents In Bounds With MarShon Brooks

 

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:
    Mark Cuban Struggle 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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