With all of New York television shut out of the Nets’ preseason game in Boston Wednesday night, it’s up to me to provide the eyes and ears for the final tune-up before the real games start — if only I could stay awake through the team’s 100-86 loss to the Celtics.
Let’s cover this one Good/Bad/Ugly style:
Mason Plumlee. It wasn’t Plumlee’s best game, but a solid night in the midst of mediocre performances. He hustled, crashed the boards, and made the best of a night that was destined to be Boston’s. Plumlee reached the free throw line an encouraging six times in the first quarter, knocking down four of them. He had a few sloppy moments, but provided his second double-double in a row. With Brook Lopez potentially missing the start of the season, it’s encouraging to see the gold medalist with some consistency. Final numbers: 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 6 turnovers.
Jorge Gutierrez. His appearance here is wholly based on two things: his sneaky quickness on two stolen inbound passes that resulted in wide-open lay-ups, and his stark contrast to Marquis Teague. Gutierrez, for the most part, ran a fluid offense, took care of the ball, and looked like the far better option behind as a third point guard. In the end, it’s likely Gutierrez’s non-guaranteed contract will lose out to Teague’s guaranteed contract, but don’t be surprised if this saga ends with Gutierrez getting a chance with another NBA team this season. Final numbers: 12 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers.
Corey Jefferson’s Dunk Face. Faced with one final opportunity to audition for the Nets’ last bench spot, it looked like the Baylor rookie was forcing his offensive game at parts. But, in the Nets’ most quality moment of the game, put an absolute poster down on Jared Sullinger in the 3rd quarter. (The Celtics fan in front of me screamed: “Ooh! You gotta sit down after that one! Oh! Oh! Wait, who was that?”)
Honorable Mention: Mirza Teletovic, 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3-6 from 3-point range.
Alan Anderson:Sometimes Alan Anderson thinks he’s Kobe Bryant. Occasionally, it works out. Occasionally, it does not. Tonight, it did not. Anderson shot jumper after jumper, trying to shoot himself out of the slump with leaners, fadeaways, three-pointers, and runners. Nothing worked. Final stats: 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1-9 FG.
Bojan Bogdanovic: Late into the second half, Bogdanovic had only taken two shots. Two. In a preseason game in which Garnett, Lopez, Williams, Kirilenko and Johnson were absent, the Nets’ potential starting shooting guard had only taken two shots. Why? Since coming over, Bogdanovic has looked strong and comfortable; but tonight looked timid and nervous. He upped the total in the fourth to a final 2-7 shooting night, but he’ll have to do better than that to leave his mark. 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists.
Transition & Interior Defense. Gerald Wallace looked spry and springy against a sloppy Nets squad. Tyler Zeller and Sullinger dominated the boards effortlessly, a problem that won’t be fixed by adding Lopez back into the mix. The Nets still look slow on offense, even with all the young kids on the floor. When it’s Karasev, Bogdanovic and Teletovic on the floor, the offense looks like this: Karasev pumps, attempts to penetrate, kicks to Teletovic, Teletovic pumps, attempts to penetrate, kicks to Bogdanovic, attempts to penetrate, rinse, lather, repeat. I like what the trio brings the table, but they leave a lot to be desired.
Honorable Mention: Jerome Jordan’s two minutes of playtime brings an intriguing set of questions: Does it mean Jordan’s spot is safe? Was this a final chance for Jefferson to make the team? Only time will tell as to why the journeyman played just two minutes last night, but it should speak volumes soon.
Marquis Teague:Hello darkness, my old friend. After a strong start, Teague put the pedal to the metal and immediately derailed the Nets’ train. He recorded six turnovers in the first half alone, and his reckless play helped the Celtics get out in transition in the second quarter. Teague plays basketball like a guy who holds the turbo button down in a video game, headstrong and stubbornly driving full-speed into the paint with no end game in mind. I prefer Gutierrez, but Teague will likely retain his spot for now. Final numbers: 10 points, 4 assists, 6 turnovers.
Sergey Karasev: 2-11, all-around forgettable performance. Not for lack of effort, just not Karasev’s night. On the bright side, Karasev played 43 minutes, a full fourteen minutes more than Mason Plumlee. It looks like Nets’ brass is committed to giving Karasev a shot in the rotation. Let’s just move on from this one. Final numbers: 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals.
The Guy Sitting Behind Me Trying to Impress His Date With Basketball Knowledge from the Late 2000’s: I’m not trying to put this guy on blast here, but this is hard to stay away from. He thought that Paul Pierce still played for Brooklyn, couldn’t name another player other than Kevin Garnett and thought that Jason Kidd was the current player-coach of the team. Well, we can’t win them all right?
The next time we see the Nets, it’ll be regular season basketball.