In a game that the Brooklyn Nets did not play their starters in crunch time, where Tyson Chandler left the game after the first 44 seconds, the bench mob led the team back from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit, but a failed MarShon Brooks isolation late led to the two most exciting words in sports: PRESEASON OVERTIME! In an overtime where neither team played a starter for a single second, the Nets fought to the wire, losing on a missed MarShon Brooks contested layup (another isolation).

As is preseason standard, here is your powered-down Net Worth.

Deron Williams: Came out firing -- hit three threes and scored 12 total in the first quarter Looked very good -- at times out of control but matched Felton's burgeoning intensity. Grade: A

Joe Johnson: Quiet, efficient night. Had some fun early action playing off Deron Williams as they ran screen plays for one another, and bullied his way in the post when he had the matchup advantage (which he should have often next Thursday). Grade: B

Gerald Wallace: If you were perhaps in the mood to judge Nets players on the loosely defined intangible quality of giving a crap for every conceivable second, chances are you'd take Gerald Wallace first and not a soul would blame you. He runs, bumps, cuts, dives, jumps, and scrapes. He boards, passes, and controls anarchy. Didn't have the best shooting night, but impossible to complain about his effort. Grade: A-

Kris Humphries: Played more into his role offensively tonight -- didn't force the issue, just caught passes for easy shots. Still a non-factor defensively. Grade: B-

Brook Lopez: Looked better defensively than in any game in preseason, in that he looked average. Contested an awful lot of shots and forced more floaters and off-balance j's than layups. Didn't really score much, though he did nail two quick shots on two possessions at the beginning of the third quarter. Only one rebound, so there's... that... thing. Grade: C+

Tyshawn Taylor: Great shooting in the fourth quarter, but lost the touch late in overtime. Can't really fault him for that. Can't hurt to have a backup hitting jumpers off curl screens. Grade: B+

MarShon Brooks: Only really useful when he's scoring, and until the end, he didn't really score. He's developed an oddball tendency to try to create too much off the dribble -- so much that he'll (dare I say it) pump-fake out of open shots and dribble into contested ones. He's Mirza Teletovic's antithesis in that sense, as Mirza would bring another basketball onto the court just so he can shoot two at the same time. Worth noting that he did hit two big shots late -- a putback, and more importantly, a fast break lean-sprawl and-one layup to put the Nets up 2 with a minute left. But in the aggregate, he's had better nights. Grade: D

Andray Blatche: The ultimate Andray Blatche sequence: He threw a hook shot off the side of the backboard, then followed it up with a steal and a tight spin cycle off the dribble, passing into a foul. The Andray Blatche Experience, in a nutshell. Attacked the glass, but didn't shoot well and didn't defend well enough to offset that difference. Grade: C-

Nets-Knicks: Pregame Primer

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

deron williams brooklyn nets evan turner

The Brooklyn Nets play their final preseason game tonight, playing it against their cross-borough rival, the New York/Manhattan Knicks. The teams are playing in the one stadium dinky enough to accomodate a pseudo-rivalry fit for a preseason game: Nassau Coliseum, prison for the New York Islanders where the New York Islanders will play their games until 2015, upon which time they move to Brooklyn and join the Nets in Barclays Center.

The Nets will start their usual five. The Knicks will start Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony, Kurt Thomas, and Tyson Chandler. Thomas is 40 years old and prevents the Knicks from starting Anthony at power forward, where he posted a 29.5 PER last year. So hopefully this is indicative!

The Nets played in Nassau Coliseum once upon a time, before they ever moved to New Jersey, and accordingly will wear their white ABA jerseys for tonight's game. Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse are out.

In honor of tonight's final ultimately meaningless game before the meaningful ones begin in one week, here are three things to watch for when you're watching -- whether that's on MSG or in the arena.

1) Pick-and-roll defense. Pregame, Coach Avery Johnson stressed the importance of improving on the team's shoddy pick-and-roll defense, saying that it had looked better in recent practices and the team was still figuring out its coverages and communication. The Nets will likely see 60 to 70 pick and rolls tonight, and the Nets should use tonight's game as added practice for their system. Johnson also said the team needed to show improvement defending in transition.

2) MarShon's minutes. It appears MarShon Brooks has solidified and will further solidify his spot in the rotation his evening. Coach Johnson also noted that tonight is an opportunity for MarShon Brooks to get his first significant minutes in the rotation, and that would be true regardless of Bogans' and Stackhouse's availability. That would seem to indicate that Brooks is the #2 2; a solid night scoring and defending would further cement his spot.

3) The crowd & arena. Johnson also has no expectations for tonight's crowd. As mentioned, the game is in Nassau Coliseum, which makes the Izod Center look like the Barclays Center. The arena is a transplant directly from 1975, if people in 1975 presumed that foreclosed museums designed for alien landings made for solid sports backdrops. It's got character.

Enjoy the game!

No longer undefeated

Posted on: October 19th, 2012 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

The streak has broken!

After three consecutive wins in ultimately meaningless preseason fashion, the Brooklyn Nets finally fell apart in ultimately meaningless preseason fashion, losing 115-85 to the Boston Celtics in Brooklyn. The Nets fell behind 9-0 in the first 76 seconds and never recovered, trailing by double digits for the last 32 minutes of the game. I'm not sure what the team's defensive rating was by Avery's standards, but by regular ones, the Nets allowed those 115 points on only 94 possessions.

It was as ugly as it sounds. The Brooklyn Nets shot 37% for the game, just 6-21 (28.6%) from beyond the arc. They recorded more turnovers (18) than assists (16), and got blown out by 30 points despite shooting 21 more free throws over the course of the game. The Nets allowed the Celtics to slice inside without incident: the Celtics made more field goals in the restricted area in the first half (17, in 22 attempts) than the Nets did in the entire game (16, on 37 attempts). Not to be outdone by their own ineptitude, the Nets also allowed the Celtics to shoot 11-19 from beyond the arc, most of that damage done by Jason Terry (5-5) and Paul Pierce (4-4).

The Celtics are a vastly better defensive team, and it showed. But though the Nets lost this game deservedly and handily, the defensive effort wasn't as bad as the numbers might indicate. There were moments when the Nets played what appeared to be solid defense for the entire shot clock, only to see Jason Terry nail a 3 with a hand in his face. Or Kevin Garnett hit a fallaway turnaround with a hand in his face. Or Paul Pierce nail a 3 with a hand in… you get the idea. The Nets did contest a fair share of shots. They just didn't contest enough. The Celtics hitting tough shots only turned it from "decent win" to "complete blowout."

"We needed a game like this against a good defensive team," Deron Williams said after the game. "We need to play better against a team like this." Tyshawn Taylor concurred: "I think we needed this a bit. We can go back to the drawing board, see where we made our mistakes, and just get better from it. We can always turn a loss into a positive."

"As competitors, we don't like losing," Taylor later added.

The Celtics were undoubtedly the better team, but Thursday night's game served as a reminder that while Paul Pierce is a man of indomitable skill, luck does play a subdued role in a game-to-game ebbs and flows. Pierce and Terry won't combine to go 9-9 every single night, just as Williams and Johnson won't go 6-22. And consider Tuesday: the Celtics won't always allow a team sitting their starters to beat them on their home court.

Regardless, the Nets don't have too much time to dwell on this loss -- they play again less than 24 hours later, against the 76ers, in Brooklyn.

Also, need I remind you that it's preseason?

More notes:

-MarShon Brooks is healthy, and barring a later injury, should have no issues playing the remainder of postseason. However, Avery Johnson noted pregame that his assumed role as the sixth man of this team is in jeopardy: "We're not going to box ourselves in. It'd be great if (he) was in the sixth man role, but right now with the way C.J. and Blatche and those guys are playing… Joe Johnson is going to anchor our second unit. So he would be the default sixth man."

-Tyshawn Taylor is also healthy.

-Crash watch: jumped and tap-danced on the scoreboard diving after a loose ball, got a sweet chasedown block on a dribble-drive, dove out of bounds on at least two occasions.

-Joe Johnson picked up a flagrant foul in the third quarter on one of the softer flagrant fouls I've ever seen, for pushing Paul Pierce in the back with his forearm until he fell out of bounds. It was absolutely a flagrant, but usually when you hear "flagrant" you think of someone slamming down on a player's back or elbowing him in the chest. This was just a simple, smooth push.

 

Since most of us were unable to watch tonight's Brooklyn Nets debut, I've compiled tweets from those who were in attendance. Here is your first official preview of this years Nets!