What happened: The Brooklyn Nets took a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter and nearly lost it, but a Los Angeles Lakers run ran out of time, and the Nets hit just enough shots to seal a 114-105 road victory over the second-worst team in the Western Conference.
Where they stand: At 22-31, the Nets are still on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference playoffs, just a half-game behind the Charlotte Hornets.
That was… A typical Nets third quarter! Wait, what?
After an often-listless first half outside of Bojan Bogdanovic’s troublemaking, the Nets poured on 40 — count ’em, 40 — points in the third quarter, a season-high. Outside of a late Lakers run that gave the Nets a bit of a scare, the onslaught carried them to an easy victory. The Nets hit six of seven threes and 15 of 21 shots in the period, and Deron Williams racked up seven of his 15 assists in the frame.
Undefeated update: The Nets are undefeated after the All-Star Break, and in the Thaddeus Young era.
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
Thaddebut Young: Newest Nets forward Thaddeus Young made his illustrious Nets debut with 9:58 left in the second quarter, and it took him less than ten seconds to get his first points, a nice floater off a drive to the basket. Young finished with eight points in crafty fashion, hitting quick floaters around the restricted area, and grabbing four rebounds in the win. If you need more Thaddeus Young, here’s him talking to Sarah Kustok before the game.
Jarrett Jack is excited:
The best GIFs invite more questions than answers, and there is just too much happening here. Why is Jack interrupting Young’s conversation with Nets assistant John Welch? How did everyone assemble so quickly? What is Darius Morris laughing at? Why is everyone beating up Jarrett Jack? What is Jack yelling at at the end? Someone give me context before my head explodes.
WHOAJAN BOGDUNKOVIC! Did you know Bojan Bogdanovic could do that? Because I did not know Bojan Bogdanovic could do that.
With Garnett gone and Young unacclimated, the Nets started Bogdanovic as part of a weird four-out set that featured Williams, Bogdanovic, Alan Anderson, and Joe Johnson. The Nets outscored the Lakers 66-49 with those four on the floor together in 22 minutes, and were better with Lopez than with Plumlee. Bogdanovic made some killer plays in the first half, Anderson spaced the floor, and Williams kept everyone happy by finding them shots.
Calling Joe Johnson the “power forward” in that lineup is a misnomer. He’s playing the same role Paul Pierce did in last year’s Nets lineup, as a floor-spacer big enough to handle the punishment of playing down low defensively. The trade-off was that eight of Johnson’s 11 shots were open shots, per the NBA’s tracking data.
Deron Williams, Makin’ Passes:
Williams finished with 15 assists, the most he’s ever recorded in a Brooklyn Nets uniform. Some of that just came from Williams playing on the ball — with Jarrett Jack out, it’s in Williams’s hands — and the Nets certainly converted their fair share of contested shots. But NBA players don’t stumble into a 15-assist game by accident, and Williams created out of the pick-and-roll and on the perimeter finding spot-up shooters. One constant, and this may sound a bit obvious: it always looks good when your shooters make shots.
Ten Potential Names For Deron Williams’s State Farm Assist Twin:
1) Gerald Williams
2) Derek Williams
3) Ron Williams
4) Darren Williams (pronounced the same as “Deron”)
5) Deron Williams (pronounced “duh-RON”)
6) Dalton Wilkins
7) Damian Lilliams
8) Lionel Hollins
9) Devin Harris
10) Khal Drogo
Jarrett Jack, putting the blinders on:
Jeremy Lin: “Don’t Do That”
With the Nets up 9 and the clock running out, the Lakers elected to double-team Alan Anderson, forcing the ball out of his hands. Anderson passed to Bojan Bogdanovic, who put in a wide-open layup, drawing Jeremy Lin’s ire. Lin was ticked that Bogdanovic seemed to be running up the score in what was already a decided game. That’s probably true, to some extent, but if the game’s over, why are you double-teaming the ballhandler?
Brook Lopez Rebounds From The Deadline: With no more rumors for at least a couple of months, Brook Lopez played a comfortable game against the league’s worst interior defense, dropping 22 points on 8-19 shooting and grabbing 14[note]By my count, three of his rebounds came off his own missed shots.[/note] rebounds in just under 33 minutes on the floor. Lopez tried to stretch his game out a bit, hitting back-to-back jumpers in the third quarter, and did miss a few quick shots in the paint. But when he established position, there was little the Lakers could do to stop his shotmaking.
Plus, Lopez sticking around means we get at least 28 more games of #BrookLopezFace.
Markel Brown’s Dunk Cherry, Popped:
Brown’s first dunk of the season came off an alley-oop from Thaddeus Young. Let’s see more of those.
One more thought on Brown: outside of Brook Lopez, nobody played more minutes off the bench.
What did Cory Jefferson & Markel Brown Do Thursday Night?
Sheesh! I see why people go to therapist now after all that
— Cory Jefferson (@CoryJay34) February 20, 2015
My life will never be the same!
— Markel Brown (@iMarkelBrown22) February 20, 2015
It’s not clear if these two tweets were connected (they are four hours apart, after all), but given that the two are both rookies on the same team in unfamiliar territory together, it’s not a stretch to think the two did something that gave them a little shake. NetsDaily theorized that Markel Brown was saying goodbye to Kevin Garnett. Could that be it?
Next up: The Nets take the weekend off before playing in the Mile High City Monday night against the Denver Nuggets. They’ve officially hit the second “half” of their eight-game road trip.