The Nets remain impossible to figure out. They’ve beaten the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ve lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. And they were one off-balance three-pointer from losing to the New York Knicks.
For long stretches, the Nets dominated against what looked like a hapless Knicks team. The pick-and-roll play was on, the Nets ran in transition, the Knicks took terrible shots, and they looked like they were headed to an easy victory and a season sweep. They got the latter, but not the former.
“A win is a win,” after all. And in this playoff race, and on the night we celebrated Jeffrey Gamblero’s life, a man who always thought the Nets would end the night victorious, the Nets will take any win they can get.
Sure, it’s the Knicks, who are playing basketball by accident. But Williams came out firing in the first half, getting to the rim with ease and finding teammates.
It was like clockwork: Williams would play, the Nets would build a big lead. Williams would sit, and the lead would dissipate. Rinse, lather, repeat.
But in his last stretch during crunch time, Williams made a crucial turnover and missed a key three-pointer after creating space. It was the only time in the game that the Nets didn’t take a close game and build on it.
BRING ME THE DUNKS. I SHALL FEAST ON YOUR DUNKS.
Was the beneficiary of Williams’s passing surge tonight, running the floor and scoring in transition. After a scary fall early in the first quarter, Brown shook it off and showed no ill effects.
But that one defensive play when Brown literally left Shane Larkin alone… Does anyone know what he was doing?
Hard to notice.
Young opens up the floor for Lopez & the Nets so much offensively, and it’s encouraging to see him hit scoop shots in the lane and grab rebounds. But he also had some surprising struggles with Andrea Bargnani.
So, you know how Brook Lopez has done extra work on the offensive glass these days? Sometimes, it ends in a game-winner, which results in an automatic A+ in our grading system.
He scores so easily sometimes. You don’t need a sommelier to know he pairs best with a good Deron Williams.
Beautiful pick-and-roll play between he & Williams culminated in an aggressive layup with 78 seconds left to put the Nets up three.
Happy birthday, Brook Lopez.
Remember how the Nets’ lead would dissipate when Williams left the game?
There’s a conundrum: he has to play some minutes, because Deron Williams can’t play 48. But when he does, his time with the second unit means he spends more time as a focal point of the offense. And that’s not a good thing for the Nets.
Jack has gotten a lot of the criticism for the team’s struggling bench, but Bogdanovic did not play the best defense of his young career tonight.