WINNING STREAK! Nets 104, Boston 96 (GAME GRADES)


Paul Pierce POWER FORWARD

Played his first game since the team diagnosed him with a broken bone in his right hand, wearing a protective black glove. He didn’t look to force his offense much, though it looked like coach Kidd implored him to get a few shots in the second half. From someone healing a broken hand, not his worst outing.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

It’s amazing how much better he can look when he knows he doesn’t have to play 25 minutes! Okay, so he wasn’t Superman, but it beats him trying to pace himself as a starter.

Kevin Garnett POWER FORWARD

He certainly forced a few bad shots in the first half, but it’s hard to blame him: the team was calling his number on most possessions that Brook or Deron didn’t get it. Did make a few more midrange shots than we’re accustomed to seeing and played some great defense down the stretch. One of his best games this season.

Alan Anderson SHOOTING GUARD

Looked perfect as the fifth-best player in a starting lineup. Spotted up around the perimeter and took advantage of driving lanes when an opportunity presented itself.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Welcome back, Deron. Looked tentative early, which is understandable when your ankles have acted like flypaper, but got more comfortable as his stint progressed, hitting a nice reverse layup on his first attempt and bullied Jordan Crawford on his way to the basket on his second. Was productive offensively throughout the game, hitting jumpers and layups alike, and led an effective fast break in a way that Shaun Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor just haven’t been able to do this season. One caveat: he got absolutely destroyed on the defensive end by Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford, who ran him ragged around screens on and off the ball.

Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

Did not force his offense, which is a very good thing, but didn’t make many shots, which is not so good of a thing. Did hit the capper with under a minute left, though.

Brook Lopez CENTER

Nobody stood a chance. Jared Sullinger is too small, Vitor Faverani too inexperienced, Kris Humphries too Humphries. He pushed and smashed and backed down and then lofted a soft knife through their hearts and into the basket time and time again. He tore them apart, burned them and bullied them, swatted them at the rim and dunked through their porous interior defense. Looked a bit tired in the fourth trying to back down Jared Sullinger’s size and the Nets couldn’t get him the ball late, but a generally great game for the big man.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

Andray Blatche ran the floor behind Paul Pierce, absorbed contact, and flipped up a layup in the first quarter, while adding just the right amount of paprika to his roasted chicken recipe. Andray Blatche caught the ball on the left block, stared at the basket, and threw a shot directly into his defender as he then set his chicken on fire. Blatche put the fire out just in time to give it a smoky flavor during some great possessions near the basket in the third quarter fighting for loose balls, then took some ill-advised isolation possessions during dessert when he poured garlic salt all over a hot fudge sundae.