There are infinite ways to look at a basketball game. One is as a game of spatial attrition: maximize the potential for scoring by finding the most high-efficiency shots, and that can trump a team with more talent. That’s basically the “MoreyBall” model: take close shots, shoot a ton of threes, and draw as much contact as possible to get to the free throw line.
That’s precisely what the Rockets did: almost all of their points came at the rim, beyond the arc, or at the line. Add in their superior talent, and it looked like the 0-7 Nets might fall to 0-8.
And yet… the Nets won. Even with all their mid-range shots and talent dearths, they actually won, against a tough road team built to devour teams like Brooklyn.
Behind a big defensive effort down the stretch and a suddenly-solid three-point shooting team, the Nets snuck a road victory against a healthy team widely considered a top threat in the notoriously Western Conference.
You could see the recipe for a victory. The Nets got to loose balls — particularly on the glass — and hit their open three-pointers. It didn’t look like a different team, but it looked a little more like one that has a chance of winning more than, well, one game every eight tries.
I credit Lionel Hollins shaving his beard.
The stats: 14 PTS, 6-17 FG, 12 REB, 5 BLK
What sore foot? The Nets gave the ball to Lopez on the block in the first half and let him go to work, and he delivered with an array of set shots and fadeaways to pick up 14 first-half points. In the second half, Lopez didn’t score, but made his mark defensively by turning back a few Dwight Howard looks. Not his most efficient night, but a solid one nonetheless.