|Gerald Wallace, SF 36 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | -1
Prior to March 15th, the Nets suffered through a revolving door at the small forward position. A scoring-deficient Damion James, a conditioning-deficient Shawne Williams, a basketball-deficient DeShawn Stevenson, and Keith Bogans all tried filling a hole with varying degrees of unsuccessability. Yes, prior to March 15th, the small forward spot was a barren wasteland, devoid of productivity. Enter Gerald Crash Freaking Wallace, a difference-maker both offensively and defensively, someone who plays at 100% every single second on the floor, hits the floor with no regard for anything but making the play, and is an enormous upgrade over anything and everything the Nets have thrown at that hole since Richard Jefferson. How can you not love everything this man puts on the floor every second?
|Kris Humphries, PF 37 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +12
He wasn’t bad. He scored through contact and picked up his share of rebounds. But at the power forward position, especially with a depleted big man rotation, you’d hope for a better rotation and help defender. Humphries has had his share of issues with off-ball defense all season, and tonight wasn’t much different. Put more on the table than he took off, though he was outshined by the effectiveness of his teammates tonight.
|Johan Petro, C 19 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | -2
Who is this man and what has he done with the overpaid bald Beaker impersonator that we’ve come to know and love? What is going on? How did he hit all those tip-ins? How did he reconfigure his massive, unwieldy wingspan to stop DeMarcus Cousins from going above the rim on more then a few occasions? Who was this oversized magic marker blocking shots, scoring inside, and finding teammates, and why have we never seen him before?
|Deron Williams, PG 36 MIN | 6-17 FG | 6-8 FT | 6 REB | 15 AST | 19 PTS | +5
Something about that west coast air just doesn’t sit right with Deron’s shot, I suppose, but he sure did everything else. Isaiah Thomas was just too quick for him on some possessions, but other than those issues, a vintage all-around Deron performance.
|Anthony Morrow, SG 31 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 24 PTS | +13
Is anything in basketball more fun to watch than a pure shooter on fire? There have been too many games where Morrow hesitates early and ends up taking bad shots or pump-faking out of solid opportunities, but he came out firing. Hit bottom on all three of his three-point attempts in the first half, and didn’t stop connecting in the second.
|Gerald Green, SG 22 MIN | 2-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +16
It’s honestly endearing how much Green just wants to please us with insane dunk-o-highlights. There were at least four opportunities tonight where Green skied at the rim, hoping to throw something down, but plans went awry. Next time.
|Jordan Williams, F 19 MIN | 2-2 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +3
Continues his role as the only player on the Nets who plays entirely within his role, and nothing more. Had one particularly nice play in the first half: after blocking a shot inside, he ran the floor with Deron Williams to get the transition bucket and the foul.
Five Things We Saw
- Logically, you’d want the Nets to lose this game. They’re in a tight race for the fourth-worst record in the NBA with the Cavaliers, Kings, Raptors, and Pistons, and “falling ahead” of those teams all but assures that the Nets won’t see a top-3 pick in June. But we’ve seen a team suck for three years in the hopes of “what’s next.” I’m well aware of the long-term implications. It’s just fun to see a team play as well as the Nets did tonight. It’s fun that they have their first three-game winning streak of the season. It’s fun to watch Gerald Wallace play his ass off to bring a team victory. Can’t we just enjoy that?
- I think Gerald Wallace has been taught throughout his career to lead opposing slashers going baseline into a rotating big. But the bigs only come about 20% of the time. Watch Wallace guard someone out on the wings, and you’ll see him cut off the center of the court and “lead” the ballhandler baseline. If only someone was consistently there to check the ballhandler at the rim.
- The curious case of MarShon Brooks’ dwindling effectiveness requires further investigation.
- The story of this game will be that the Nets had an insanely effective offense and ran the Kings out of the gym, but only half of that is true. Yes, the Nets’ offense was particularly effective — more so than usual — but the sheer number of possessions was as much part of this offensive explosion as the scoring. They played a fast-paced game, which, and this may shock you, seems to work well against bad teams with Deron Williams, Anthony Morrow, Gerald Green, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries using the majority of your minutes.
- Cowbell Kingdom had Justin & I help out with their pregame 3-on-3 coverage, and I noted before the game that assists would be the determining factor in this game. Sure enough, the Nets picked up 30 assists tonight, their second-highest total on the year, to the Kings’ 17.