Net Worth: Lakers 91, Nets 87

New Jersey Nets 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Los Angeles Lakers
Gerald Wallace, SF 42 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 19 PTS | -4

We appreciate the hell out of you.

Kris Humphries, PF 39 MIN | 8-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | 0

I’m going to overlook his sluggish start for a moment and pretend his game started the moment Pau Gasol pushed him in the back. Because from that moment on, Kris Humphries played with an energy previously unseen. I was going to comment on how he’d played under the rim, until back-to-back anger dunks in the third quarter. I was going to comment on his sluggishness, until he attacked the glass angrily. I nearly said he’d let the boos overtake him, until he finally pushed back. He gets an A for the second half.

Johan Petro, C 21 MIN | 0-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -8

That’s the guy I remember.

Deron Williams, PG 32 MIN | 6-15 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | -12

Deron did just about everything he could in that raucous, ridiculous ending: dropping 10 points in that fourth quarter, hitting the three-pointers to cut it close, destroying Matt Barnes’s ankles on that devastating double-crossover, keeping the game close, proving that the Nets can compete, ever so slightly, with some of the pieces they’ve got now.

MarShon Brooks, G 16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -12

I’m going to overlook an otherwise quiet, minutes-reduced MarShon game to make sure it’s noted that he recovered a slap-down from Kobe Bryant, spun around him, created an open layup, and finished with his left hand at the rim and Bryant behind him. Forget for a second that we get inundated with “MarShon is the next Kobe” comments — he’s not — but that felt good to watch.

Gerald Green, SG 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +6

Remember, the Lakers had an opportunity to sign him. And didn’t like him. So the Nets signed him. Thank you, Lakers. I will take his leaps at the rim and jumper made of nylon singe any day. Now all we need to know is why it took nine minutes to bring him back in the second half.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The end of this game felt like one long trip towards alcoholism, so parts of my immediate memory may be slightly fuzzy here, but here’s what I remember: With the Nets down 14, Gerald Wallace turned into a rhinoceros and drew about 12 fouls in the final two minutes, Deron Williams hit two enormous three-pointers, the second one with 90 seconds left to tie the game, the Nets had some chances to win… and then, Kobe Bryant hurled a 97-footer (okay, maybe it was like 29 feet) towards the basket, cast a spell simultaneously on the rim and the basketball, allowed the ball to bounce around a bit to cause a bit of suspense, then pointed his fingers downward, signifying to the ball that it was finally time to drop in the basket lest the magician arouse suspicion. Ball game. Good night, folks.
  2. Josh McRoberts is all sorts of ridiculous. With four seconds left in the first quarter, McBob caught the ball at half-court, dribbled to the top of the key, lost the ball in mid-spin move, somehow regained it by the end of said spin move, threw the ball in the air with the shooting form of an eighth-grader, and buried it as the buzzer sounded. Yup. That’s when I knew the game was over.
  3. With Andrew Bynum out, the Lakers still had a big three — Kobe, Gasol, and Ramon Sessions.
  4. Early on, the Nets ran Gerald Wallace on Kobe Bryant — which makes sense, since MarShon Brooks is still far off defensively. Crash made Kobe work off the ball, but wasn’t afraid to switch off him in the first half and gave him some space on the perimeter. Unfortunately, while that may entice Kobe into shooting, it sucks when Kobe’s shooting well. Tonight, Kobe shot well. Unfortunately, by the time Crash started pushing up on Kobe, Kobe was able to use that aggressiveness against him to get open looks with fakes, curls, and duck-unders. And then, you know, sorcery.
  5. Those final 90 seconds are all anyone’s going to talk about, but basketball is a 48-minute contest, and until the perimeter took over, this game was won at the rim. Pau Gasol dropped layups and hook shots over Johan Petro, received alley-oops from Kobe Bryant and Ramon Sessions, stared down referees, screamed at appropriate times, and figuratively laughed in the face of the Nets’ unfortunately misplaced backup center Johan Petro, who’d done so well against loose cannon DeMarcus Cousins just three days ago. I know the Lakers were down Bynum, but I’m actually a little optimistic; you could do a hell of a lot worse than a bad bounce leading to a loss with no starting center.