Net Worth: Pacers 106, Nets 99

New Jersey Nets 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Indiana Pacers
Kris Humphries, PF 42 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-7 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -3

Ran the floor, got shots at the rim, grabbed rebounds, didn’t take over the offense, and didn’t bomb defensively. As much as you can ask from him, if not too much; he’s a talented rebounder, but the Nets run everyone but him down the floor on the offensive glass.

Shawne Williams, SF 32 MIN | 3-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +6

His three-point stroke from last year seems gone, but he made his career on hitting corner threes, and now the Nets have him shooting mostly from the wings. The corner 3 is the most efficient shot in basketball, and it’s the one Extra E is (or at least was) best at, would love to see him shoot it more often.

Shelden Williams, PF 23 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 PTS | +12

Foul trouble killed him. Outside of joining the entire roster in an inability to catch Deron Williams’s passes, continued his stretch as the most consistent player on the roster. Disrupted defensively and played academically superior offense, but wasn’t on the floor long enough to make any kind of impact.

Deron Williams, PG 40 MIN | 10-20 FG | 10-12 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 34 PTS | -15

Deron Jekyll in the house tonight. They played him off the ball until he was ready to create, and he hit shots off flare screens and pick-and-rolls. Attacked the basket and got to the line 12 times. An uncanny number of his well-timed, well-placed passes bounced off the hands of their intended recipients, and while he certainly looked attack first, his responsibilities as the floor general were not skirted. Looked like a superstar, and played a beautiful two-man game with Anthony Morrow, but those two can’t do it alone.

Anthony Morrow, SG 38 MIN | 10-17 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 28 PTS | +1

Absolutely owned the fourth quarter. The comeback came up short, but good grief, what a comeback. Watching him play off Deron Williams was pure poetry. He knocked down threes, scored in the post-up and off drives, and hit shots from everywhere. 15 points in the fourth quarter says it all. When his shot’s falling, he’s valuable; when he’s getting good looks out in multiple ways, there’s little a defense can do.

Jordan Farmar, PG 23 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | -8

Had occasional moments where he believed he was Deron Williams and attacked the basket with reckless abandon, but played mostly in control. With the Nets without MarShon Brooks and DeShawn Stevenson, they needed someone to attack the basket and hit threes. Farmar did both.

Johan Petro, C 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -18

Made three fadeaway jumpers and let three easy passes bounce off his hands and body. Let’s call it cancelled out.

Jordan Williams, F 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -6

Played his first serious stretch of minutes tonight with Okur out & Shelden struggling to stay on the floor, and didn’t disappoint, just mostly unimportant. Got his share of rebounds and fouls alike; Roy Hibbert introduced him to the NBA quite well on the block.

Five Things We Saw

  1. I expected Indiana to play as well offensively as they did. They live to play overexcited, undertalented defenses like this. But I did not expect the Nets to match Indiana shot for shot. Barring a dead stretch midway through the third quarter, the Nets exploited holes when holes presented themselves; they created off pick-and-roll action, attacked the lane, and used flare screens to create open looks on the perimeter. They posted up Morrow and D-Will on a few occasions, with mostly positive results.They swung the ball well, found scorers in a position to score, and when a mismatch presented himself (like Humphries posting up George Hill), the Nets capitalized.
  2. Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow scored every Nets point in the fourth quarter.
  3. The Nets have serious issues guarding long players. Paul George can shoot over any of the Nets’ wings. Roy Hubert dumped the ball into the basket over Kris Humphries and Shelden Williams, and grabbed any rebound available in his general vicinity. Williams and Humphries (and Petro, and Jordan Williams, and down the line) can body a big on the ground, but can’t do the same in the air. Even a replacement-level player, someone like Brandan Wright, could help the Nets defend against these players.
  4. Interior defense remains a major problem. The tendency to rotate a split second too late allows a strong big like Hibbert to establish dominant position in the lane. Hibbert is taller and longer than everyone on the floor by a fair margin, and the Nets allowed him to created five feet from the basket as opposed to twelve.
  5. Oh, but Hibbert’s baptism went just swimmingly.