Five Things We Saw
- For a brief, wild moment, it looked like the Nets had a “big 3” of their own — MarShon Brooks hit a quick 3 on the game’s first possession and a dumb pretty fadeaway on the second, Humphries and D-Will both created looks for themselves, and the Nets grabbed a quick 7-2 lead. Then, then, then, it all started breaking down. Brooks had moments throughout the game — as he is wont to do — but one rookie can only do so much against one of the best teams of this decade.
- Going into this game, I firmly believed that the Heat would jump on the Nets early with scoring in transition and never look back. Truthfully, the opposite happened; the Nets held it together early — even holding a quick first-quarter lead — before the Heat hit them with a barrage of open jumpers through the next two quarters in the half-court offense, not creating — nor needing — any offense in transition. The Nets got similar mid-range jumpers, but they couldn’t hit the open ones and certainly not the contested ones.
The Heat are so good that they can rely almost exclusively on LeBron shooting the mid-range spin jumper out of the post-up — one of the more inefficient shots in basketball — and still completely break down the Nets. The Heat shot 74% in the first quarter on the strength of Chris Bosh and LeBron’s vicious game of “Around the World” once Gerald Green entered the game.
- Eddy Curry dropped an alley-oop dunk in garbage time, shortly after Johan Petro hit a reverse layup and later buried a three-pointer. This is otherwise known as “the break in the space-time continuum.”
- The Nets had no answer for 48 minutes, mostly because they didn’t understand the question. How would they even win this game in the first place? At a certain point, the question of strategy is irrelevant; it’s merely a question of attrition. Dwyane Wade didn’t return after injuring his ankle in the first half, and he didn’t have to.
- One of my many takeaways from the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that I’ll expound on in the coming days and weeks is that versatile, three-point shooting wings generally fit in with any team structure. It’s phenomenal to have high-scoring, high-rebounding centers (and speaking of which, the Magic lost to the worst team in the NBA tonight), but those are rare; the one constant across almost all excellent teams is one of those wings. Gerald Green and DeShawn Stevenson (and Damion James, and Shawne Williams) do not fit this bill.
Speaking of which, the #StartGeraldGreen movement took a significant hit this evening. DeShawn Stevenson can’t shoot a camera, but the instant Green entered the game LeBron James began throwing him around like a rag doll’s rag doll. The Nets have issues everywhere, but one of their major priorities is having someone other than Deron Williams who can do multiple things without dominating the scoring load.