I offered no predictions before this game, because it was impossible to know just what was going to happen. I had no idea what Deron Williams would look like after a physical beating Saturday afternoon and five points over two games. I had no idea if Jarrett Jack would continue his merry net-positive ways. I didn’t know if the Hawks would adjust to Brook Lopez, or Al Horford’s pinky would bother him.
This is why I don’t offer predictions. Did you see this game going to overtime? Did you see Deron Williams nearly doubling his scoring output from his first three games? Did you expect that kind of game? Did you see THAT coming?
One thing’s clear through four games: the Nets have more offensive firepower than anyone expected, and they’re not going down without a fight. This isn’t the 1-8 blowout series any of us saw coming.
The stats: 26 PTS, 11-19 FG, 10 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 4 BLK
Lopez’s finest play wasn’t a rebound, it wasn’t a shot.
With deep position in the paint late in overtime, Lopez whirled through a double-team, lofted a pass to the corner for a wide-open Bojan Bogdanovic, and Bogdanovic buried a three-pointer, putting the Nets up 114-113 in overtime with 1:25 left.
It was the kind of read that Lopez has so rarely made, particularly in a high-stakes moment. It was like he matured into Al Horford in the blink of an eye.
It’s gotten to the point when it’s troubling that he only gets two rebounds in a half, rather than routine. (That’s a good thing, I promise.) The Hawks did a good job engaging Lopez defensively and taking him out of the paint, which helped them contest first shots, but allowed the Hawks to get a ton of second-chance points through regulation.
Lopez is this team’s offensive lighthouse: they look to him for light when things appear dark, for his ability to score in a myriad of looks. He did just that, establishing himself with isolations early and getting going in the pick-and-roll. But with the game on the line, it was Lopez’s pass that made his night.