They really should’ve put the Bobcats away in the third quarter, but a mix of poor free throw shooting and surprise offense from the Bobcats kept this one close throughout. This wasn’t their best effort, but the Nets made important plays down the stretch to close out a stingy Charlotte team.
Midrange dagger: buried a 20-footer off the dribble with 37.8 seconds left that put the Nets up 5, all but sealing the game.
He’s having an underrated stretch: getting into the lane more, setting up teammates, hitting outside shots, the works. He thoroughly outplayed Kemba Walker, who’s in the midst of a very good season, and his on-the-ground moves and in-the-air moves look in sync. He had a few beautiful passes that led to open shots that didn’t fall, killing his chances at a double-digit assist game. When he’s playing like this, the Nets can have an off night in a lot of other ways and still put up victories. Hard to understate his importance.
On nearly successive plays in the first quarter, Livingston put down a put-back dunk, drew a charge on Josh McRoberts, and threw a beautifully deft pass to Mason Plumlee around Al Jefferson for another dunk. Livingston hit his first five shots, looking like the best Nets player on the floor for long stretches in the first half.
One graphic on the screen listed him — and not Joe Johnson — as the second member of “Brooklyn’s Backcourt.” He’s played that well.
When he’s open, it feels like he should hit every shot. Slow start but picked up by going into Sniper Joe mode, casually waiting on the perimeter for Deron Williams to draw defenders and getting open three-point looks. Had a surprisingly solid game on the glass.
Whispery game from Pierce until the closing moments; he barely touched the ball on offense until the fourth quarter, when he somehow drew a foul by falling over and hit a three-pointer to put the Nets up 97-92 with a little over two minutes left. Boxed out Josh McRoberts to keep him away from the most important rebound of the game. You could argue that he didn’t do enough in the first 44 minutes. You’d probably be right. But the little things help.
Every now and then, Blatche has to have a relatively normal game to keep everyone guessing.
“It’s time for Marcus Thornton to get some buckets.”
– Marcus Thornton at every moment ever.
His first-half minutes weren’t unexpected; he’s the team’s best pure post defender, Al Jefferson is the league’s best healthy pure post player. The Bobcats had thrown the ball into Jefferson multiple times on every possession before Collins entered the game, and Collins’s presence changed that a bit.
When he stayed out of foul trouble, he had a tangible impact: Scored nine quick ones in the first and earned them — hustled for loose balls, snuck behind Al Jefferson, stole away a rebound, and scored through contact. But in the second quarter, Plumlee picked up three fouls in the span of about two minutes (though the third one was a questionable call), forcing him out of the game. Didn’t play in crunch time.