Tony Parker, Keith Bogans

Tony Parker (AP)

Even without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Brooklyn Nets 111-86 Sunday night, mostly thanks to their stellar point guard Tony Parker. Parker, who finished with 29 points and 10 assists, seemed to toy with the Nets at will, hitting shot after shot and finding open teammates for three-pointers throughout the game.

"The strategy was to get as much help as we could for the guy that was covering him," coach P.J. Carlesimo said after the game, "play his pick and rolls. If he beat us, make him beat us outside. ... The strategy obviously wasn't good enough for Tony tonight."

Gerald Wallace was more blunt about it: "Tony Parker runs the pick-and-roll pretty much better than anybody in the NBA."

It wasn't a stroke of magic, nor a stroke of luck, it was merely a great player reading the game and making the right decision in the pick-and-roll. Let's take a look.... MORE →

 

Deron Williams Brooklyn NetsAfter tonight's 113-93 drubbing of the Sacramento Kings, the Brooklyn Nets have now won five of six games in the P.J. Carlesimo era. There's more than enough credit to go around -- MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic both had their best games of the season, six Nets scored in double figures, and the Nets got efficient nights from almost all of their rotation players -- Carlesimo noted that the Nets have only made one major tweak to the offense.

"The only thing we've really done differently is tried to put Brook (Lopez) in more pick-and-rolls, to feature his shooting and stretch the defense out," Carlesimo said. "The other stuff is more a function of more guys playing well."

The Nets opened the game with a simple pick-and-roll play with Lopez and Deron Williams. Williams drove around the screen and got to the hoop for an easy layup. "Brook's a good pick-and-roll guy, pick-and-pop guy, especially when he's hitting that 17-19 foot shot, which he has been lately," Williams said after the game. "It opens (the lane) up. The more we run pick-and-roll, the better for everybody, because it spaces the floor out."

"It's just something we've been working on in practice, and applying it to games," Lopez added. "It's been effective."

The Nets have scored 108.3 points per 100 possessions in the last six games, over five points above their season average before this stretch and a number that would currently rank fourth overall in the NBA this season.

Carlesimo also stressed that his big men were getting the ball in a better position to score closer to the basket, and that Andray Blatche in particular had changed his game up a bit. "We're not iso-ing him every play out near the three-point line and him doing spins and all this stuff. The plays he's finished in the last four or five games, he's finished a lot of shots in the paint, and he's finished them more authoritatively than he was earlier in the year."

 

Jason Kidd New York Knicks, Joe Johnson Brooklyn Nets

The Nets should like this matchup tonight. (AP/Frank Franklin II)

As you may or may not have heard because it's been obscured by the 30th birthday of international sensation OJ Da Juiceman, the New York/Manhattan Knicks come to Brooklyn this evening to take on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. This is the first official game between these two teams, rescheduled from November 1st in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Here's an analysis of the Nets offense versus the Knicks defense, and how the game might develop on that end.

By the Numbers:

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As the Brooklyn Nets opened up their season last night vs. the Toronto Raptors, many continue to speculate how the on-court product will grow & evolve over the course of 82 games and beyond.

One such opportunity that I see is a spread pick-and-roll, a play made popular by Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns and an offense that is gaining popularity across the NBA league wide.

Mike D'Antoni, the coach who lead those famous Suns teams, could be considered an offensive genius, but even a high school JV coach would take one look at the Nets roster and decide that his best offensive strategy would be to flip Deron Williams the ball and more or less “get out of the way.”

Nothing I’m going to write should be considered offensive innovation from a mastermind, but this offensive concept is being utilized more and more and it suits particular lineups of the Nets roster well.

As such, with almost any action that the Brooklyn Nets use this season, their best offense will probably come with the ball in Williams' hands creating for others or himself. Why not put him in as many of these situations as possible, surrounded by teammates that will maximize his abilities?

This is where I believe a spread pick-and-roll could be an oft-used tool that pays huge dividends for the Brooklyn Nets this season. Here’s how it works. ... MORE →