Net Worth: Nets 99, Pistons 96

Detroit Pistons 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 New Jersey Nets
Kris Humphries, PF 39 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS | +6

Didn’t grab as many rebounds as usual, but functioned well as the Nets’ primary interior option. Destroyed a Jason Maxiell dunk attempt early and hit a few outside jumpers. Slid under the defense on a pretty dunk to put the Nets up 7 with under 3 minutes left. Passed well when he drew double-teams and rarely forced what he didn’t have. Can’t complain.

Shawne Williams, SF 38 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +23

Stayed in the corner where he belongs, and delivered. Scored all 11 of his points during a red-hot stretch in the second quarter. When he’s shooting in rhythm and in balance from that left corner, he’s deadly, especially when the Nets have creators moving towards the rim to draw in defenses. He missed a potential game-clenching corner 3, but the balance on his jumper and consistent, intentional decision to remain in the corner is a very good sign.

Shelden Williams, PF 27 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -4

For better or for worse, he sure does effect the game for someone so underwhelming in the statistical department. Brought his standard bang-down-low game, but let more than his fair share of rebounds and passes bounce off his hands, not so harmlessly in some cases. Full of effort, but at some point it hurts when you’re pinned to the floor and can’t contest jumpers from Jonas Jerebko or quick big men like Greg Monroe.

Deron Williams, PG 43 MIN | 12-21 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 26 PTS | -2

Played on cruise control and still looked like a superstar. Sliced opposing ankles and hit jumpers over rookie defenders. Made shots almost exclusively from the outside, but didn’t need to; he carried them with jumpers off screens through the second half. Threw three errant passes to spaces where he expected teammates to be, but has started to string together consistently top-notch performances, though some against weak defenses. His next great point guard test comes Monday, against Chicago.

Jordan Farmar, PG 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +8

For an undersized point guard, he’s not a bad shooting guard. Knocked down his open threes. You can’t play him many minutes next to Sundiata Gaines because of the massive size disadvantage, but with Deron the Nets can switch D-Will onto the bigger player. The Nets miss Anthony Morrow and MarShon Brooks, no question, but Farmar’s not the worst fourth guard to throw into the mix.

Keith Bogans, SG 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -14

Made his Nets debut tonight, just hours after the Nets announced the acquisition. His highlight: a great cut to the basket for an and-one (he missed the free throw) to put the Nets up six with just over a minute left. Hard to judge him on this game.

Sundiata Gaines, G 25 MIN | 2-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 9 PTS | -3

Got playing time mostly because the Nets bench was Gaines, Jordan Williams, and newcomer Keith Bogans. Brought the energy as always, but I wish he wasn’t so distractible on defense — it”s like watching a cat chase a string. Except that while you’re string-chasing, there’s another cat behind you that you’re leaving alone to eat all the kibble. But you can’t complain too much about a player who gets the game-clinching rebound, even if he bricked his first free throw.

Jordan Williams, F 21 MIN | 3-3 FG | 3-6 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +1

His best game as a pro so far. He’s not quick enough to stop Greg Monroe or close out on shooters, and not enough of a leaper to get rebounds outside of the space he’s created, but for what you expect, he played well.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Williams, Williams, and Williams! It happened a couple of times tonight, notably for a large stretch of the third quarter. With eight players suited up and four Williams’s, that means at least one Williams was on the court at all times. A true marker of basketball history.
  2. This may shock you, but the first half of tonight’s game was an encouraging display of just ugly basketball. Loose balls everywhere, clanked layups, contested shots late in the shot clock, passes gone awry or out of bounds completely, little semblance of an offense. The Nets only suited 8 players tonight and the Pistons have their share of injuries too, so it’s understandable, and the game did improve in the second half. But that first one was eerily close to April 2011 New Jersey.
  3. Deron Williams finally looks like the game-in, game-out superstar the Nets traded for. He’s averaging 29 points per game in the past five games, shooting at least 50% in four of those games. He’s scoring all over the court off a variety of cuts, screens, and spot-ups. He’s hitting his teammates in spots where they’re ready to score, and though he’s averaging 8.6 assists per game in this five-game span, he’s lost some to the inattentiveness of his teammates. If this is “locked-in” Deron Williams, keep him coming.
  4. Brook Lopez’s absence in the paint is as big as he is; as much as I appreciate Shelden Williams’s contributions, he’s just not long enough to consistently contest in the paint and doesn’t draw any offensive attention. When he returns, the offense will change drastically, just because opposing teams have to plan for more than Kris Humphries occasionally barraging the rim.
  5. Worth re-noting: Yes, the Pistons aren’t a particularly talented team, but the Nets still pulled out a victory with only half their roster and three (arguably four) starters out with injuries.