Net Worth: Bulls 110, Nets 95… And it wasn’t that close

New Jersey Nets 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
110 Chicago Bulls
DeShawn Stevenson, SG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -13

Some of my favorite oxymorons: deafening silence, deliberately thoughtless, virtual reality, good grief, bittersweet, civil war. Here’s one in honor of DeShawn Stevenson: stop starting.

Kris Humphries, PF 24 MIN | 2-7 FG | 3-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -18

Humphries isn’t a particularly adept shot-creator. He has unspectacular range out to 15 feet, and a decent pump-fake-and-drive-the-lane, but it’s not what he’s there to do. No, Humphries is there as a decoy for his scoring teammates to dump off to when his defender overextends. But tonight, the Nets had Deron Williams and little else attacking the lane, and that means a bad night offensively.

Mehmet Okur, C 22 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -10

Over the past few games, his offense has gone from consistent to unwatchable, and his defense has maintained its level of “slow.” He’s missing open threes and barely making his inside shots. He’s a backup in a starter’s role, mired in a bad stretch. Not a pretty week.

Deron Williams, PG 31 MIN | 7-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 16 PTS | -12

There’s only so much a point guard can do without the backing of his teammates. Four turnovers are on him — mostly — but he’s at his best when he’s got players around him that make their shots. The fact that he picked up 10 assists — seven in the first half — is astounding. He created good looks for himself and knocked them down, but he can’t do it alone. Now, he couldn’t stop Derrick Rose, or even contain him like the Nets did in their matchup last season. But that’s, again, something you live with. He brought everything else.

Anthony Morrow, SG 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -10

Plays well offensively next to Deron Williams, but at this point you know you’re only getting one side of the floor from him. Rip Hamilton and Ronnie Brewer both got their share of open looks with Morrow drawing their assignment. Made his shots, but little else.

Shelden Williams, PF 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -2

Another blandly efficient game for The Landlord. I’m warm to him as a 4th big man in the rotation. He’s played his role well and creates only what his precise role dictates. He’s not a star, but he knows it. There’s good value in that.

Jordan Farmar, PG 32 MIN | 7-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | -5

Not a phenomenal performance, but one of the few players worth playing significant time tonight. Unfortunately, he plays Deron Williams’ position. Only looked to create for himself when he had a step and other options were closed off. His play has erased Sundiata Gaines from the rotation, who played unspectacular spot minutes in fourth-quarter garbage time.

Larry Owens, F 29 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -7

Either earned Avery Johnson’s trust or a pawn in his motivational game. Still, knocked down a couple of shots, and didn’t look lost defensively. Not an extensive list of complaints and grievances.

Shawne Williams, SF 20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +2

Finally hitting his corner 3’s! Not useful for much else, so that’s a good sign at the very least.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The game resembled order for roughly 90 seconds before disintegrating into anarchy. The Bulls made eight of their first nine shots, leaked out in transition for dunks and layups, got a three-point play from Joakim Noah, two threes from Derrick Rose, and forced significant playing time from the Nets’ recent D-League call-up Larry Owens, and former Net and uncomfortably popular fan favorite Brian Scalabrine. All in the first quarter.
  2. The Nets got destroyed by Brian Scalabrine in the second quarter. Brian Scalabrine destroyed the Nets in the second quarter. Destruction occurred at the hands of Brian Scalabrine in the second quarter. Nope, no matter how I say it, it still sounds ridiculous. Scalabrine hit a reverse layup around Kris Humphries that was simultaneously unbelievable and inexplicable, played transition defense, hit Omer Asik with a pretty feed for a shot at the rim, and generally functioned as the cog in a lineup that extended a nine-point lead to 17 with Derrick Rose off the floor.
  3. Fire. In the middle of the fourth quarter, Rip Hamilton threw an elbow at the newest Net Larry Owens, and Farmar immediately rushed in defense of the rookie. Shawne Williams then got involved too, resulting in a double-technical between Williams and Hamilton. In a blowout, it’s good to see teammates standing up for one another. That’s hasn’t been a common occurrence.
  4. The Nets defensive woes continue. They allowed Richard Hamilton and the three-headed monster of Omer Asik/Carlos Boozer/Joakim Noah to score at will inside, and while they allowed a lower three-point percentage than the norm this season, their defense was far from capable. They didn’t attack the passing lanes and allowed the Bulls to rotate the ball at will, as Rose, Hamilton, and Scalabrine found open looks at the rim for teammates with surprising consistency. They allowed over 25 points in each quarter, and all five starers to score in double figures. This is, as always, a depleted team, but even for depletion this is bad.
  5. Grave Expectations. The Nets are missing their starting shooting guard (MarShon Brooks), their starting small forward (Damion James), and their starting center (Brook Lopez). They were on the end of a back-to-back-to-back, their first such stretch of the season. They were playing on the road, against the best team in the NBA. A blowout’s expected against this team, even without Luol Deng.