Rapid Reaction: Magic 94, Nets 78

New Jersey Nets 78 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Orlando Magic

Game Grades

Deron Williams 2-12 FG | 6-8 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 10 PTS | -18

Remove poor shooting from the equation, and Deron Williams performed to his lofty expectations. All the moves on the ground are at standard Deron Williams level. His ballhandling skills and court vision are a pleasure to watch at all times. We saw him score at the rim a couple times, an improvement over Atlanta’s 0-4 debacle. But his jumper’s broken right now, and considering how good he looked shooting the ball in Turkey, I couldn’t tell you why.

Sundiata Gaines 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -4

Essentially invisible for much of the game. Gaines and James are similar players in the sense that they’re both everywhere on the floor, constantly cognizant of potential havoc, but neither is particularly talented at any specific facet of the game. The starting experiment was not a success.

Damion James 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5

I appreciate Damion James. I like his archetype. I know he’ll have a career in this league that lasts longer than his rookie contract. But he played 9 minutes last night. And it didn’t seem wrong.

Kris Humphries 3-5 FG | 3-5 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -15

Facing off against Ryan Anderson in an interesting matchup of two polar opposites — a perimeter-oriented big man with skills and an interior-oriented big man with hustle muscles. The former won. Heartily. Humphries got a few boards, but played poor man defense and little help defense.

Mehmet Okur 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -17

Starting to look like a human being again. He didn’t stand a chance defending Dwight Howard, so he gets a mild pass for Howard’s 24 rebounds. Okur’s ability to put the ball on the floor and stretch defenses is huge when his shot’s falling, and given his issues early on, it’s good to see him get a little closer to relevance.

Anthony Morrow 2-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -14

His shot, the one thing keeping him in the league, is borderline comatose. His smooth stroke replaced by a consistent clank. If the assignment off the bench was designed to spark his shot, it failed. But until someone turns up his sliders, he doesn’t deserve the starting spot.

MarShon Brooks 7-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +12

With the Nets down 20, MarShon Brooks scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting and carried them offensively to within six by the half. He struggled a bit in the third, pressing a bit in an attempt to create more self-offense, but attacked a Howard-guarded basket with no fear. His game — punctuated by an insane 30-foot double-clutch three-pointer as the shot clock expired late in the third quarter — was, for the second straight night, the Nets’ zenith.

DeShawn Stevenson 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -6

Stevenson’s odd versatility as a guy strong enough to play the 2 and the 3 annoyingly enough to stymie opposing shooters was evident on the floor last night. Plus, the three goggles are out. And everyone loves the three-googles.

Rod Thorn

You traded Ryan Anderson. As a throw-in. That is all.

Five thoughts on the game

  1. Well, at least they hung around for a while. I didn’t expect the Nets to win this game, but better to stay in it for three and a half quarters than to do the basketball equivalent of vomit on your shoes and stumble out of the door screaming something about Vladimir Radmanovic.

  2. The Nets’ first quarter issues continue. Their offense completely lacks rhythm out of the gate. Through three games, the Nets’ first-quarter shooting stands at 16-66 (24%), and they’ve scored a total of 40 points in 70 possessions for an offensive rating of 57.1. The lineup switcheroo did nothing to alleviate the issues — D-Will, Gaines, Morrow, Petro, & Okur combined for 1-17 shooting in the first.

  3. MarShon Brooks plays very well in Orlando, which is a bad sign for his future here.

  4. The Nets starting 5 combined for 26 rebounds, and the big men combined for 24. Dwight Howard alone grabbed 24 rebounds.

  5. Shot locations: the Nets’ three-point shooting mildly improved tonight, from 6-26 opening night to 6-24 Tuesday to 6-17 tonight. A good sign of how well a team’s offense is functioning is the amount of shots they take from the 16-23 foot range. The more there, generally the worse; while some midrange jumpers come off those off-ball screen & curls, generally the highest-percentage shots occur either 10+ feet closer or outside the arc. The Nets shot 25 shots from the 16-23 foot range, more than any other area. The Magic only shot 2-17 from that distance, but made up for it by attacking the rim and shooting from distance at a higher clip.