Oddly Blatcheian, in that he’s either missing by three feet (as he did on his first attempt) or nailing perfectly (as he did on his second).
DUNKED ON COLE ALDRICH
Continued his solid play at power forward, not forcing bad shots and playing intelligent team defense. Didn’t try to force his offense with the larger Carmelo Anthony checking him in the battle of small-ball fours, spreading the ball around well instead.
Kept his starting spot despite Deron Williams’s return. Started off hot with an impressive block on Iman Shumpert and a leak-out for a dunk on the opposite end. Didn’t really see the floor much in the second half as Jason Kidd gave Williams a few minutes to toy with the desecrated corpse of the 2013-14 New York Knicks.
Saved a possession with one sneaky rebound in the first and quickly followed it up with a fast-break dunk on a 3-on-0. Missed some shots at the rim but otherwise performed admirably.
The Nets remain undefeated in 2014 with Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup. Some excellent pick-and-roll defense to shut down the Felton-Chandler pick and roll, hit his standard few jump shots, and didn’t have to play that long thanks to Blatche’s all-around game. (More on that below.)
Glued himself to Carmelo Anthony when the two were in the game, doing a mostly decent job limiting him. That technical foul he got hit with in the third quarter may have been a bit of an early whistle, but considering the history and tension between these two teams, I figure the referees wanted to keep heads cool. Anderson followed the technical by shooting three quick shots, hitting two and drawing a foul on a fourth attempt.
Returned to the Nets lineup with 5:15 left in the first quarter after sitting out over two weeks with a sprained ankle, and promptly hit a floater in the lane on his first touch. Didn’t make a huge impact for the rest of the half and even had a scare banging his wrist near the end of the first half, but came back out in the second without any apparent issues, hitting three-pointers and dribbling around Knicks players just for fun. He’ll most likely start tomorrow.
Didn’t do much in the second half, but didn’t need to: Joe Cool has become this team’s first-quarter offensive valve, replacing Brook Lopez in his absence. Johnson dropped twelve points in the first quarter with ease, normally after the Knicks lost him on defensive switches. Johnson finished with 20 points in the first half, and only started looking like the focal point of the offense near the end, when he started pressing and missed two shots.
DRAY DAY DOMINANT. One of his best games this season, if not of his career. His offense was there, hitting the jump shots that coaches have probably begged him not to take, a few shots off feeds from Mirza Teletovic, and parted the Knicks with a semi-Eurostep in the first half. But it was his effort defensively that separated tonight from his other great offensive games: Blatche played surprisingly good pick-and-roll defense throughout, out-hustled the Knicks for rebounds, and even drew a charge in the first half. Sure, Andrea Bargnani was his assignment for much of the game, but he did well on multiple defenders. Blatche kept Garnett off the floor for most of the second half, allowing him to rest with the second game of a back-to-back looming.
Airballed his first attempt, but promptly followed it up with a nifty pass in the post to Andray Blatche for a slam and a sweet touch pass to Blatche for an open jumper. Weirdly made a step-back 18-footer off the dribble. Badly missed some threes before hitting one in the fourth. His passing is still underrated.