I am much calmer as I type this than I was after the Denver game. Why? The Nets showed effort, and they stayed competitive putting a scare into Portland. Portland simply had much more talent and while they were shuffling in guys like Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller off the bench. The Nets responded with guys like Bobby Simmons. The gap in talent was very obvious. Like the Denver game, I sat down on the couch not really expecting a win, but unlike the Denver game, the Nets showed effort, a ton of it.
Most notably, Brook Lopez came out and showed fire. I was really worried about Brook going into tonight, mainly because he had a bad game yesterday and he was going up against a big center in Greg Oden. Brook has struggled against the bigger centers so far this year. Dwight Howard, Brandon Haywood, and Roy Hibbert all gave him problems. Not tonight though, Brook looked aggressive, and maybe most importantly, he showed much better body language. The only thing that has disappointed me about Brook has been his poor body language, whenever there is a foul he disagrees with, he shows his displeasure and usually picks up a cheap foul soon after. Not tonight, even when he picked up an early one against Greg Oden, he didn’t react or anything like that, he just went back to work. You know Roy Rogers is getting in his ear.
Chris Douglas-Roberts had a bounce back game as well. It was apparently early that he wanted to get to the rack. He didn’t start shooting jumpers until after he made a few line-ups. That is really good to see.
It just came down to the gap in talent, you had to know this was going to be a rough year, and though it has been a little rougher than most would have expected, this team is starting to put some things together and look better. If the Nets have this kind of game, they can put themselves to get a win on Friday. I tried to write down times and plays today so I can do some key plays, but when I looked at them after the game they were unreadable. Maybe it was because I was writing and watching the game at the same time. So no key plays today, but there are some bullets after the jump:
- Bobby Simmons can’t make a basket anymore. Nothing else to add really, it just sucks that he is the 2nd guy off the bench most nights.
- Another great thing about Brook’s game tonight. It was all inside. It wasn’t like he made a ton of outside jumpers, he was getting the ball in the post and scoring from there. He even was driving from the foul line and on one play, he pump faked, dribble drove, and finished with a dunk.
- I know Terrence Williams was only 2 for 7, but you can tell he is much more comfortable now that guys are starting to come back healthy. He had a few opportunities to take some 3s, but he was pump-faking and driving to the basket hard. The good games are going to come soon.
- How awesome was it to see Sean Williams and Brook Lopez out there at the same time. Sean Williams has just been bringing energy all season and it is good to see. I know he isn’t going to be a Net next year, but he is going to stick somewhere, and you know what? Good for him. Looking at the Kings roster, the match-ups might be favorable for the Sean Williams/Brook Lopez line again.
- Rudy Fernandez hit two fade-away threes as the shot clock expired. You can just throw your hands up when that happens.
- The Nets were really good defensively tonight, holding the Blazers to just 13 in the third, but when you only score 12 in that quarter, it doesn’t really matter.
- Devin is starting at the PG spot on Friday. Tyreke Evans and Devin Harris, boy am I excited for that, it should be fun.