Hello Marquis. It was a good day indeed. Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. Impress everyone on the team plane with a hoodie from The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us writing stupid things about basketball. Thanks!
Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.
What happened: The Nets blew out the Detroit Pistons at home, avoiding a potential season sweep by Detroit and winning their 15th straight game at Barclays Center with a 116-104 victory.
Where they stand: At 41-34, the Nets have guaranteed themselves at least a .500 record, but didn’t move the playoff needle: with wins by the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Washington Wizards, the Nets remain 2.5 games behind both the Raptors and Bulls for the Atlantic Division and fourth seed, respectively, with seven more games to play.
That Was… A quick turnaround. I don’t know if the first quarter was lethargic, or any quarter where teams shoot a combined 3-16 from three-point range just feels lethargic. But the crowd and the players exhibited garden snail energy for most of the first 12 minutes.
But that wallowing feeling was short-lived: the Nets blew the game open in the second and third quarters, hitting a barrage of three-pointers and letting the Pistons make mistakes. The Pistons made a run in the beginning of the fourth quarter to cut Brooklyn’s 22-point lead all the way to 10, but a quick alley-oop and some Brooklyn buckets kept Detroit at bay.
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
Paul Pierce is hungry: When asked about the Nets’ 15-game home winning streak, Pierce compared playing at home to eating there. “We’ve been playing so well here over the last couple of months, it just feels good. It’s like when you feel comfortable when you have dinner at your house, then when you go to somebody else, you don’t know what they’re going to cook. Same thing.”
Barragin’: The Nets hit their first seven threes in the second quarter, each in more improbable fashion than the last:
The second-to-last one is my favorite. Mirza Teletovic catches a pass off a curl, turns, and fires in one motion, leaning sideways. It’s the hottest of heat checks, and I am 100% in favor of when heat checks work out.
And don’t you dare sleep on Alan Anderson’s bench celebrations. Underrated all season. And he’s always ready.
Solid Post: The Nets have ridden a spread-heavy offense throughout most of 2014, but got a lot of their shots out of the post tonight. Whether it was Shaun Livingston or Joe Johnson abusing smaller guards, the Nets worked inside out, getting Livingston his short jumper and then spreading the ball for their three-point barrage.
Livingston in particular was the team’s MVP, hitting 11 of 14 shots en route to a team-high 23 points.
My Thoughts At The Half: If they hit that many threes in every quarter, they’re going to be good at basketball.
Andray Blatche, Hangin’ Out:
This picture, snapped by AP photographer Kathy Kmonicek, captures an Andray Blatche dunk that drew Andre Drummond’s ire. Blatche hung on the rim with Drummond below him, but looked like he swung in Drummond’s direction to taunt. You can see Drummond swatting him away. Good times!
FEARZA! Teletovic has a chance to be dangerous in the playoffs for the Nets if he shoots the way he did tonight. Other than his heat-check three, all of his shots came in a good rhythm, and he was wide open thanks to Detroit’s defense forgetting about Teletovic, leaving him open on pick-and-pop plays, flare screens, and weak-side spot-ups for those threes.
“A lot of times I’ve been with Joe, and with D-Will, and with the guys who can score, and (the opponents) have to leave somebody open,” Teletovic said after the game, a smirk creeping across his face. “Most of the time, they think it should be me. So I get wide open shots.”
Those shots above, even though they came against a porous Detroit defense, are a major part of why Teletovic could be an x-factor come playoff time. He’s hitting bombs, and if teams gameplan to shut down Brooklyn’s major threats, he could be a shooter teams forget about.
Shaun Livingston and Andrei Kirilenko, Doin’ Things:
This was a big alley-oop: it came right as the Pistons had cut a 22-point lead to 10 in under five minutes, and Livingston rose up for the flush and-one to extend the lead back to 13.
It was also a long alley-oop: Livingston has a 6’11” wingspan and Kirilenko’s is 7’4″. It was also Kirilenko’s first time playing since March 23rd after incurring a sprained left ankle.
How much can you bench? The Nets bench put up 55 points tonight, led by Teletovic’s 20. Jason Collins scored six points off the bench on three shots, as many points as Greg Monroe scored on 11 attempts.
Paul Pierce is also dunking:
I love when a righty puts it down with his left hand.
Don’t Tell Me Andray Blatche Ever Has To Make Sense:
Blatche is a seven-footer crossing up dudes like he’s Jamal Crawford. It’s silliness. Utter silliness. Blatche also finished with 14 points on 5-7 shooting, so good night overall for the backup center.
Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston, Doin’ Things:
That pass angle from Williams was so good — he only had a sliver of space to find Livingston’s hands comfortably and he hits him with a perfect bounce pass. Williams struggled early on in this one, but ended up with double-digits in assists after not recording a single one Wednesday night.
A Brief Word On Arena Proposals: Stop.
Across the river: The New York Knicks lost to the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden, 90-89. The loss, coupled with a 117-98 Atlanta Hawks win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, put the Knicks one game behind the Hawks for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Next up: The Nets flew to Philadelphia after the game to take on the 17-59 Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.