|Deron Williams 9-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 23 PTS | -10
Williams seems to be on the path to finding his shooting stroke and scoring prowess, but he’s still far from being the distributor he’s been in years past. Some of that stems from teammates who just aren’t hitting shots, and some of it results from Avery Johnson’s playcalling. Nevertheless, one would like to see more assists from him.
|Sundiata Gaines 3-7 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +6
There aren’t a lot of offensive expectations on Gaines, so if he can continue to contribute a little bit in every category and not turn the ball over like he did tonight, that will be more than enough.
|Damion James 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +3
James was, again, a nonfactor. He can’t hit a jumpshot, and he tends to stall the offense altogether. Avery Johnson needs to start thinking about limiting his minutes.
|Kris Humphries 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +12
Humphries was the double-double self Nets fans have become accustomed to. He remains a key contributor in grabbing rebounds and collecting garbage points.
|Mehmet Okur 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | -5
Okur is never going to be the offensive leader for the Nets that Brook Lopez has been and figured to be, but he seems to be finding the range he’s been known for throughout his career. And he’s a lot better than Johan Petro.
|MarShon Brooks 8-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | -2
Brooks continued to be an offensive catalyst for the Nets and showed he can play beyond his years. Unfortunately, he pulled a Chris Webber when inbounding for a key possession at the end of the fourth quarter, sealing the game for the Hawks.
|Anthony Morrow 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -9
Morrow was useless in the first half, but he found his stroke in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers to fuel the Nets on the offensive end.
|Shelden Williams 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | 0
The Nets were essentially a seven-man team tonight, but Williams had two buckets at the end of the third quarter, including an incredible dunk that no one thought he was capable of, to help keep the Nets in the game.
Five thoughts on the game
- While the Nets’ offense looked as unrefined as a toddler’s table manners in the first half, it seemed they were on to something in the second half. Williams, Brooks, and Morrow all found their scoring touch, and the Nets actually stayed in the game despite putrid defense in the third quarter. Expect something like these Nets to be the standard for the remainder of the season.
- Brooks needs more minutes, and it seems like he should be taking them from James. James has done nothing, and Brooks gets the offense going every time he steps on the floor. Expect Johnson to realize that soon and make te appropriate change.
- The Nets’ help defense was really, really bad. Jeff Teague looked like Rajon Rondo based on his ability to get to the rim, and that’s just not okay. Okur, Hump, and Petro were all a step slow in covering the help side.
- Defensive rebounding remains a problem. The Nets lost this game on the defensive boards, as the Hawks salivated on second-chance opportunities.
- The Nets need to get tougher with their fouls. Too often did a Hawks player drive the lane, put up a shot, get fouled, and still convert it because the foul was a wimpy shove instead of a powerful hit. Toughness is very important in the NBA, and the Nets look like Carebears out there right now.