Nets 102, Suns 100: Box Score & Final Takeaways

Check out the advanced box score from last night’s 102-100 Brooklyn Nets victory over the Phoenix Suns here.

Some final thoughts on last night’s game:

  • The end of this game, facing a tankworthy 23-47 Suns team, was frighteningly close, even for the Joe Johnson-less Nets. The Nets held a sixteen-point lead at one point in the third quarter before the Wesley Johnson — yes, Wesley Johnson — show: Johnson scored 17 points in that third quarter alone, hitting five threes, turning a 59-43 deficit into a 76-75 lead heading into that final quarter. And yet, I can’t help but think: the Nets were a Wesley Johnson (career .395 shooter, .335 from 3, 7.4 points per game) explosion away from blowing out this team as they should’ve.

  • Bigger than the Wesley Johnson explosion — because it was a running theme all day — was the Nets’ laughable performance on the boards, particularly limiting second chances. The Suns finished the game with more offensive rebounds (25) than defensive (23), even with rebounding machine Reggie Evans on the floor for half the game. P.J. Carlesimo couldn’t find a lineup that could limit those second-chance opportunities. That’s a frightening weakness for this team: if Evans isn’t controlling the glass, they don’t have another great rebounder to buoy the load in their lineup.

  • Humphries back? It took a full three weeks and little fanfare for Kris Humphries to regain his spot in the rotation, but it looks cemented after Sunday night’s performance. Yes, the Suns aren’t exactly blessed with high-quality forwards, but Humphries, paradoxically, had his best game of the season even as he airballed three shots and missed a dunk.

  • The teams combined for 26 turnovers — 16 by Brooklyn, 10 by Phoenix — and most of them seemed unforced. Lot of sloppiness, errant passes, loose balls in this one. The Nets definitely played more like a 23-47 team than the Suns played like a 40-29 one.

  • Deron Williams finished with 20 points on 8-15 shooting and 11 assists and I didn’t even think he scratched what he can do offensively. I take that as a good sign. That said, he allowed Goran Dragic to score a season-high 31 points, and Dragic came within one assist of a triple-double.

  • I’m frankly kind of amazed that Brook Lopez only scored 21 points tonight. Against the level of defense he was seeing, a 6-16 shooting outing — mostly on shots in the paint — just doesn’t seem right. Hamed Haddadi was the only Suns player who could contest anything close to Lopez’s highest point, but shots Lopez normally puts down just seemed to rim out. That said, the threat of Lopez inside did get him to the line ten times.

  • Plus-minus, especially in a single game, is a stat so filled with “noise” more than “signal” that it’s nearly impossible to use as the sole marker of a player’s worth. That’s not a knock on plus-minus, that’s true of all stats. With that said: C.J. Watson’s plus-minus was +15 in 23 minutes, and he was very, very good last night. In a sloppy game with loose balls galore, Watson had the perfect opportunity to pad his rebounding numbers, and he scored when no one else could in the fourth to keep the Nets alive.