More up-and-downs than an elevator in this one: the Nets started hot, cooled off in the second, got red-hot in the third quarter on both ends, went up by 16, nearly gave the game away in the fourth quarter, and barely clawed it out on the back of Joe Johnson’s free throws.
It’s the Knicks, who are bad. So you have to adjust for that fact. But the Nets delivered for about a quarter and a half, leading by as much as 16 at one point before some porous defense helped the Knicks cut the lead to just three points late.
They closed it out. Joe Cool beat Iso-Melo. But man, they never quite make it easy, do they?
19 PTS, 6-12 FG, 5-8 3P, 5 AST, 5 REB, 0 TOV
Pulled down the game-clinching rebound with less than ten seconds left, then had the wherewithal to push the ball to Joe Johnson as he lost control.
Jose Calderon’s defense isn’t exactly the most difficult turnstile to shimmy through, but Williams still took full advantage, burying a cascade of three-pointers and hitting the Knicks defense with crossover after crossover.
That said, Calderon had himself a decent offensive game, too.
Edit: Grade bumped to B+ post-game after we noted zero turnovers.
10 PTS, 5-11 FG, 0-1 3P
More cuts than a barber.
22 PTS (19 IN 2ND HALF), 7-14 FG, 7-7 FT, 8 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL
Would’ve been great to see him in the first half, but I’m glad he at least descended from the jumbotron for a near-impeccable two-way third quarter, removing Carmelo Anthony as an option for much of the period and even blocking an Amar’e Stoudemire shot attempt, and then a close-out fourth quarter in typical Joe Johnson fashion, hitting his free throws and getting buckets to fall, most notably a pretty transition floater.
6 PTS, 13 REB, 3-11 FG, 2 AST
ReboundReboundReboundReboundReboundRebound. Set the season high for offensive rebounds in the first half, played smart defense throughout.
23 PTS (19 IN 1ST HALF), 8 REB, 2 AST, 3 BLK
Nothing solves an offensive problem like playing the Knicks’ big men. They didn’t even need Andrea Bargnani to let Lopez go off for 19 points and five rebounds in the first half alone. Some solid defense, including a key late block.
Still not 100% when it comes to catching and moving, but today was a step forward, not a step back.
10 PTS, 4-6 FG, 8 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK
Back to basics Mason Plumlee is the best Mason Plumlee. GET THOSE DUNKS, MR. MASON.