Yeah, they won. But if they were upset about an eight-point win over the Orlando Magic, I can only imagine how they feel about this one.
The Nets rocketed out to a red-hot start, hitting three-pointers, open mid-range jumpers, and layups galore, as the 76ers appeared to have trouble simply passing the ball around or even dribbling. If Nets-Spurs was an exercise in Varsity (Spurs) vs. JV (Nets), this was like JV vs. the freshmen team for the first 12 minutes.
Yet, slowly but surely, the Nets fell closer and closer into the inevitable pit of bad decisions, throwing out poor isolations, letting Philadelphia’s athleticism get the better of them on 50-50 balls and double-teams, and letting what’s arguably the worst team in NBA history hang around until the final buzzer.
17 PTS, 4-10 FG, 10 AST, 8 REB, 2 STL, 4 TOV
Sharp early, hitting two three-pointers and bullying the 76ers by pushing a defender away (legally, it seemed) for a layup. Matched up well with Michael Carter-Williams, though he struggled to score and had a couple of rough encounters with double-teams.
Barely looked for his own offense in the second half (or, at the very least, the offense didn’t come his way), but he did play an otherwise solid all-around game, getting his teammates involved while on the floor, and hit a dirty step-back jumper to put the Nets up seven with 2:44 left.
Worth noting: Michael Carter-Williams finished the game 1-9 from the field.
6 PTS, 2-5 FG
“Mr. Prokhorov, what to do with all this Bogdanovic stock?”
“Is the team in Brooklyn tonight?”
“SELL IT ALL!”
One positive: on one play, Bogdanovic drove into the lane and kicked to a wide-open Joe Johnson for a corner three-pointer, showing off a sampling of his passing instinct, should he need to shoulder more of the offense. Now if only he could make his shots on the road or defend athletic perimeter players.
21 PTS, 8-12 FG, 4 AST, 2 REB
Made some straight-up ridiculous shots, including three in the third quarter that hit the front rim, arced high, and bounced through. That doesn’t mean he’s going to defend athletic players with the aplomb of a younger man, but sometimes, when you need ridiculous shots, Joe Johnson is that man.
9 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL, 1 BLK
Active, quicker than you’d expect and sharp as always against a team, using some veteran moves and anticipation to his advantage against the youthful 76ers. Hit the biggest shot of the night at the time, a 20-foot jumper to put the Nets up 92-89 with 32 seconds left. Was Brooklyn’s best defender on a night no one else could get a stop, though he did struggle with some of Nerlens Noel’s above-the-rim capabilities.
Also needing note: between Philadelphia’s barren arena and a sensitive rim microphone, you could hear every word of Garnett’s instructions, from defensive assignments to offensive language. In that regard, Garnett was, ahem, exemplary as always.
19 PTS, 9-12 FG, 7 REB, 3 BLK, 6 TOV, 5 PF
Fell into some frustrated late-game patterns, leaving the floor after a dubious offensive foul call gave him five on the game. He had a right to be upset, but he’d also put himself in that position by committing four fouls in the first place. Still thought he played well enough to earn his sixth foul.
Hey — it’s not like Nerlens Noel is a nobody. Lopez took full advantage of an otherwise depleted 76ers frontline to get five quick rebounds, hit two wide open mid-range jumpers and otherwise controlled the paint without incident in the first half.
Struggled with double-teams in the second half, which led to a continuation of some sloppy first-half turnovers, but also dropped in easy buckets and sent back a big block late in the fourth quarter. But
4 PTS, 2-7 FG, 4 AST
Rough shot selection has caught up to him, most visibly when he shot a 24-footer 21 feet in the first half. Avoids an F with his game-clinching assist to Kevin Garnett with 32 seconds left — he drew Nerlens Noel to help create the look.
9 PTS, 2-11 FG, 1-7 3P, 6 REB, 3 STL, 3 AST, 5 TOV
I know shooters need to keep shooting and all, but this kind of shooting night from a regular marksman against possibly the worst team in NBA history can’t happen. Add in his struggles catching and holding onto the ball, and you’ve got Teletovic’s worst game of the year.
12 PTS, 4-7 FG, 1-2 3P, 4 REB
If you’d judged by fan reaction every time Alan Anderson’s entered a game this season, you’d think there was no legitimate reason he should play in the game. The vitriol is that deep. Anderson’s hardly a star, but he can do in a pinch as a complimentary player, as long as he’s not taking pull-up jumpers with a hand in his face.
Anyway, with the rest of the Nets pouring kerosene on themselves and then lighting a match, Anderson scored big buckets down the stretch to prevent what could’ve been the most embarrassing loss in franchise history.