Finally, after three seasons, two-first round exits, forgotten suits, and plenty of all-around bruised egos, the Nets and Deron Williams faced off for the first time since their messy summer divorce.
Safe to say, it was not worth the wait.
For many, the Brooklyn Nets’ season now only exists in small, largely unimportant doses and tonight’s game against Dallas should’ve meant something. While Williams, Public Enemy #1, struggled greatly, the entire Nets team shot like they were flung from cannons.
In fact, the Nets were 15-39 from the field in the first half and I actually caught myself thinking: I can’t believe this is only a fourteen-point game. Between Sergey Karasev, Shane Larkin, and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Nets’ bench made a total of zero shots en route to a tremendous 0 point half.
I know, it’s an English faux pas to write zero and then 0 — but I wanted to take all reasonable measures possible to just hammer it home: the Nets bench, full of professional basketball players, scored no bench points in 24 minutes. It hardly mattered if it was Chandler Parsons hitting bank shots or Dirk Nowitzki with that patented fadeaway, the Nets just had no answers on defense. Even worse, the Nets mostly took care of the ball tonight, only tossing 10 turnovers — which would be, typically, a solid night — and yet they were still never within 6 points.
After three quarters (and a Raymond Felton buzzer-beater), only five Nets players had scored and that was only just barely. 5. (See, I’m doing it again.) And, despite the Mavericks’ best efforts, the Nets couldn’t muster anything worth even writing about. Eventually, they would notch exactly 2 bench points and the highlight of the game was Andrea Bargnani shoving Salah Mejri. What is below rock bottom?
Is it 79 total points? 2 bench points? They make compelling cases for this entirely uninspiring effort.
Hey, at least Williams shot 3-14, right?
Where’d everybody go?
The stats: 28 PTS, 10-21 FG%, 12 RBS, 3 ASTS, 2 STLS, 2 BLKS, TOs
Although Zaza Pachulia is an above average defender, he certainly won’t be in the DPotY conversation, which makes Brook Lopez’s semi-struggles against him so strange. He appeared unwilling to push his weight versus the massive Georgian at times and it really dictated the game early.
When Lopez is hitting those flatfooted jumpers, all is right in the world. When he’s missing them, there’s almost nothing more frustrating.
But, to be fair, he was the only Nets player worth a positive comment tonight in any context. He continued to make plays that seven-footers just shouldn’t be able to make and got to the line eleven times.