Net Worth: Nets 97, Bulls 85

New Jersey Nets 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Chicago Bulls

Game Grades

DeShawn Stevenson, SG 33 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +6

Made two threes (!!!), grabbed seven boards and, like the rest of New Jersey tonight, played tough defense on Deng. For that, us Nets fan are grateful.

Kris Humphries, PF 45 MIN | 10-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 18 REB | 5 AST | 24 PTS | +19

24 points, 18 boards and was victorious in the head-to-head with Carlos Boozer. Humphries started off 5-5 in the first, and not all of it was dunks or lay-ups. Yep, he tossed in a few nice looking jumpers and played aggressive D in the paint. He even added two blocks to his stat line tonight. Humphries put up a phenomenal effort and was the key factor for the Nets tonight. I love it.

Shelden Williams, PF 36 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +16

I really like Shelden Williams for his hustle and his toughness under the basket on defense, but I think I will like him more when he is coming off the bench for Brook tomorrow. Still, 14 rebounds added to the paint presence the Nets had tonight. Oh and he won the Joakim Noah match-up? I LOVE it.

Deron Williams, PG 42 MIN | 9-26 FG | 6-7 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 29 PTS | +19

D-Will took over the game completely which was great for the Nets, but at times I thought he was hurting the offensive production. I’m sure I annoyed all of you on Twitter with my rants about Deron’s shot selection, which I thought was terrible. When you have Brooks hot early and Hump making buckets all night, there is no reason D-Will should shoot 26 times. The Nets destroyed Chicago all night, and Deron is a distributer first. I don’t want this to take away from his performance, because he did play quite well. But why he felt the need to put up threes in coverage, lay-ups in traffic, and mid-range jumpers with plenty of time left on the shot clock to develop something more effective, is a mystery to me.

MarShon Brooks, G 42 MIN | 7-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +17

His best game since the toe injury. Brooks started off very hot in the first (4-5), but cooled down since. I won’t give him as many grievances for poor shot selection like I did with D-Will, but it has to be noted that he was taking sketchy attempts. He was quick in transition with D-Will and played fine defense on Brewer and Watson. The Nets offense was simply much more effective with him, D-Will and Hump on the floor. More to come on that below.

Anthony Morrow, SG 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +2

Can anyone explain why Morrow didn’t play? He and D-Will developed some chemistry during the losing streak and Morrow hasn’t played terrible basketball. He may not have been completely needed with D-Will, Hump and Brooks playing like they were, but I was surprised to not even see him on the court until 6:00 into the second quarter. C for an incomplete here.

Johan Petro, C 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -2

Hit a hook shot, grabbed some boards and only played 12 minutes? Fine by me.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Defense wins championsh- er, upset games against the Bulls. The Nets shot 40% from the field (45.5% from behind the arc), which is pretty much your standard Nets game. The key stat here is Chicago, who New Jersey managed to hold to just 39.3% from the field. Some of this is due to easy misses and poor selection from the Bulls, but a lot of it is also the tight D the Nets played against them. New Jersey was able to force pressure in the paint and around the perimeter, which led to them getting the W tonight.
  2. When Deron Williams, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks were on the floor together, the Nets outscored the Bulls 50-27 in the first half and 74-54 overall. The offense is simply more effective when these three are playing together and that was the reason they each played over 40 minutes of basketball a piece. Much of the quick start in the first quarter was due to Deron Williams directing the ball to his guys and taking shots for himself. He makes both of these guys infinitely better when he wants to.
  3. The Nets front court completely outplayed the Bulls front court and it brought me so much joy. The Nets were aggressive all game on the glass and made Noah a complete non factor. I know that Noah has had an up-and-down season, but for him to be taken out of the game by the Nets front court was great to see.
  4. When Lopez comes back tomorrow (finally!) we will see a very strong front court rotation. The Nets are depleted at the bigs, but Brook coming back will change everything. They will have two capable starters, one capable defense-energy guy (Shelden), one capable scorer (Okur, when he comes back) and big bodies that can take minutes while everyone else is resting (Petro, J-Will). The rotation will be much more fluid and much less clumsy.
  5. One negative to take away that I never really noticed until tonight: Kris Humphries is really bad in traffic. He takes dumb dribbles when could just go up strong and attempts very awkward shots. He is aggressive, sure, but sometimes he can be a little soft when he is surrounded by defenders. Just an observation. On to the next one… Go Nets!