The Nets didn’t exactly put the Kings away for good and keep them laughably at bay, but they still pulled out a solid victory against a legitimately good Western Conference team. (Don’t let the record fool you — they were 9-6 before DeMarcus Cousins went down in early December.)
The Nets got contributions from all across the board, getting decent games from all five of their starters and their bench. Other than letting Cousins & Rudy Gay cook, kept the Kings as a whole from getting too many good looks.
Impressive defense by the Nets, who only allowed Sacramento’s “Big 2” to get to the free throw line. This is a game they can build on. They’ve got a tough test tomorrow night in Chicago. Can they?
16 PTS, 4-12 FG, 7-8 FT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 2 TOV
He is a 6’3″ concentrated ball of fire. Somewhat regressed to the mean but still kept the pressure on in the first half.
Outside of his solid game, he also gave us the pressure-defusing laugh of a lifetime, in the middle of a scrap between Mason Plumlee and Ben McLemore.
5 PTS, 1-5 FG, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL
Not much to say about Karasev in this one other than he’s a hustler, it’ll take him a while before he can consistently make shots, and he hasn’t lost his high basketball IQ.
16 PTS, 6 AST, 2 REB, 6-13 FG
He did have a few nice moments scoring in the first half, but the Nets hardly relied on him down the stretch. A perfectly average Joe Johnson game.
10 PTS, 5-10 FG, 8 REB, 4 STL, 2 AST
Had his jumper dialed in tonight, and yes, that’s a metaphor. With the Kings ICEing on pick-and-rolls, Garnett was open for a few of his patented mid-range shots, and he made them count.
Garnett also turned back the clock with a ferocious alley-oop near the end of the third quarter, that he created with a hustle play to corral the ball defensively.
His energy riled up the crowd and his teammates, and Garnett put down good looks the entire game. He can’t give you this kind of game every game anymore, but it’s nice to see it when it comes nonetheless.
22 PTS, 6-7 FG, 10-16 FT, 4 REB, 3 TOV
Hosted a dunk party in the second quarter, put together a few nice post moves against DeMarcus Cousins, hit his free throws at a shockingly mediocre rate (that’s a good thing!), and other than that point in the fourth quarter when DeMarcus Cousins tragically ended his life with a powerful dunk inside.
(That said, Plumlee returned the favor with a left-handed dunk on the next possession.)
6 PTS, 2-6 FG, 3 AST
Maybe he’d heard the trade rumors and tried to settle a score personally, but Deron (pronounced Darren) attacked Darren (also pronounced Darren) immediately upon entering the game, drawing two quick fouls on Collison in the second quarter.
Looked stronger than Saturday night, if a bit tepid at times outside of those attacks, and showed some renewed chemistry with Brook Lopez. Had one beautiful spin move into a layup in the fourth quarter.
If he really has to earn his starting spot back, he’s not there yet. Jack playing down the stretch proves that. But: he’s closer than he was two nights ago.
11 PTS, 5-10 FG, 6 REB, 5 PF
It was an odd progression for Lopez, who spent the majority of his first stint focused on defense and rebounding, hardly involved in the offense at all. Then, near the end of his stint, the Nets went to Lopez twice, and he hit a nice jumper and an and-one layup around DeMarcus Cousins.
Lopez followed up that stretch with some more encouraging play in the fourth quarter, opening his stint with a pick-and-roll dive to the rim and a nice floater in traffic, later getting an alley-oop layup, both created by Williams.
An encouraging fourth game for Lopez, who’s biggest issue tonight was his foul trouble (he picked up five) and that he looked a bit slow — the latter he’s dealt with his entire career. The next step is to get him diving to the rim over and over again.