I am fairly confident in saying that the Nets’ first half last night against the Grizzlies was the best half of basketball that they have played all year. I mean their attack was perfect. They were running very opportunistically, pushing the ball, but if there wasn’t anything there, they would slow things down and hit Brook Lopez in the post. I have been saying all year this is the Nets best chance to win, and they proved that when they play like that they can hang in (and take a double digit lead) with some of the best teams in the NBA. The problem is, for whatever reason they just stop doing what works, and I don’t really know why. Is it because that they tense up when a game is within reach because of what happened this season? Could be. Is it because they just aren’t good enough offensively to maintain a consistent offensive attack? Possibly. Every time a team makes a run on the Nets it’s almost like they just throw their hands up and say, “you know what? That’s it, we lost.” The thing that really bothers me is that the Nets have one of the best slump-breakers on their team, Brook Lopez.
I call Brook a slump-breaker because whenever a team can’t hit a shot from the outside (or get an open look), they tend to just toss it inside, and let their big man work. Brook was on some kind of roll in the first half of last night’s game. He was hitting open jumpers, working well off the ball (getting a good amount of lobs), and when he got the ball in the post, he just flat-out abused his defender (the one play where he spinned inside and hit a nice little step back jumper being his nicest move). However, Brook picked up 2 offensive fouls late in the first half (after already having one), giving him 3 and it really killed his momentum. As he walked off the court with a little over 2 minutes in the first half, Brook had 22 points. He finished with just 26. Brook was getting such a consistent amount of touches inside in the first half, it is just really hard to comprehend how he only took 3 shots in the second half (he was 9-11 in the first half, and finished going 11-14). This schizophrenic play by the Nets is what may keep them from getting 5 more wins to avoid the worst record in the NBA. Some more thoughts after the jump.
- The first half also saw Devin Harris continuing his fantastic play, in fact, he had a double-double in the first half. Devin finished with 17 points and 13 assists.
- However, we also caught a glimpse of bad Devin. He finished the game with 8 turnovers. A lot of turnovers are the result of what makes him so good, his speed. Devin is great at attacking, but sometimes he just gets way too out of control, leaving his feet before he has anywhere to go with the basketball. One play from last night that sticks in my mind is one where Devin attacked the middle and jumped in the air, he then threw it away in the corner. Yes, Terrence Williams should have been in the corner, but if Devin would have stayed on his feet, he would have noticed that Terrence wasn’t in his proper spot, preventing the turnover.