|Kris Humphries, PF 28 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -4
Dealt with foul trouble, but effective in his limited minutes. Got stuck on the bench in the third quarter on a phantom foul call that should’ve gone against Anthony Morrow. I was worried that with Brook gone, Humphries would revert to his over-shooting ways, but Deron has effectively tempered that tendency. Absolutely a solid, if brief, game.
|MarShon Brooks, G 36 MIN | 8-15 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +5
Brooks displayed his sizzling offensive game in the second quarter, scoring eight quick points to carry the Nets in the early going. MarShon continued his streak into the second half, scoring in a variety of ways inside and outside. Avery Johnson ran 1-4 isolations for Brooks continuously, a huge sign of trust in a rookie from a coach, and MarShon absolutely delivered.
|Mehmet Okur, C 40 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +7
I’m starting to understand the standard Okur package – some creative moves offensively, slow, unspectacular defense, useful spacing, pick-and-pop magic, and some shots from deep. The defense is a concern, but it’s as good as you can expect from an offensive-minded center who’s supposed to be the backup.
|Deron Williams, PG 41 MIN | 11-18 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 14 AST | 35 PTS | -3
Dealing with Price is not exactly dealing with Nash, but Deron Williams still looked the part of superstar point guard. He penetrated the lane at will, scored in traffic, knocked down his outside shots, set up teammates for good looks with impeccable timing, and though not consistent, appeared as active on defense as I’ve seen this season. D-Will’s received his fair share of criticism, but this was one of those games that reminds you why he’s in the “NBA’s best PG” discussion. He absolutely dominated tonight.
|Anthony Morrow, SG 38 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | -5
At this point, you know what you’re getting with Morrow – three-pointers and porous defense. He didn’t disappoint. He’s a poor help defender, but put his hands right in Channing Frye’s face late in the fourth quarter on a key three that could have cut the lead to 2, then hit an enormous 3 with 49 seconds left shortly afterwards to put the Nets up 107-99, essentially sealing the victory. Put more on the table than he took away tonight.
|Jordan Farmar, PG 19 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +12
Farmar built on his three-point barrage against Denver Wednesday night, hitting two quick threes off flare screens. It appears that he’s re-cemented himself as the backup point guard/D-Will running mate over Sundiata Gaines, who registered a DNP.
Five Thoughts On The Game
- The three-point defense still needs work. Between TVD and a general lack of defensive effort and interest, the Nets allowed the Suns to shoot at will from beyond the arc in the first 31 minutes. However, in the final 17, the Nets showed marked improvement, rotating on the pass rather than the catch and putting hands in faces, and the Suns missed their final seven attempts. That was the difference-maker.
- It can’t be stated strongly enough: Deron Williams had an unquestionable A+, top-10-player-in-the-league, dominate-all game. 35 points, 14 assists, 11-18 shooting, 6 threes, and the ability to create an open shot for a teammate within seconds in vivid display — the Anthony Morrow three-pointer to seal the game with 49 seconds left the most important example of that. According to ESPN Stats & Information, only LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have more 30-point, 10-assist games in the past four seasons. This is the point guard the Nets signed on for. Utah should be fun.
- After nine straight games of scoring under 100 — often well under — the Nets broke the 100-point mark for the third straight game. While any game with Phoenix brings that opportunity, even in their slowed-pace season, the Nets’ efficiency has vastly improved in these past three games. Hitting 15 of 32 threes helps.
- It’s always a treat to play the Suns, if only because we get to see the best set of identical twin centers drafted out of Stanford in the history of the NBA go against each other. But this time, without Brook getting the chance to suit up, it felt as if something was missing. Maybe next time. Maybe.
- I maligned the Nets earlier today for their inexplicable rotations in the past few games, but I thought the Nets closed off lanes a little better than they have in recent games. They’ve still got their fair share of issues, and last night was by no means perfect. But tonight’s total defensive effort was definitely a measured step in the right direction. Given that the Nets have had numerous injury issues — Damion James and Dennis Horner sat out, and Shawne Williams suffered an injury in the first half — to see the effort still improving is a very good sign looking forward.