What happened: The Brooklyn Nets put up a dominant second-half performance, outscoring the Denver Nuggets 65-37 over the final 27 minutes and cruising to a 110-82 victory in Denver.
Where they stand: The Nets won their second straight game out of the All-Star break, improving to 23-31 on the season and holding onto the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
That was… Youth, movement.
Watch More Athletic Plays In 30 Seconds Than The Nets Have Had All Season:
For long stretches this season, the Nets have looked lethargic, unathletic, and largely forgettable. Not Monday night: with 45 minutes out of explosive rookie Markel Brown, a noticeably quicker Deron Williams, and some flashy above-the-rim plays from their young players, the Nets dominated the second half against a team that just couldn’t convert any shots or get clean looks inside.
It didn’t start off rosy. The Nets fell behind early to a Nuggets team that had lost 15 of 17 games heading in, needing some Iso-Joe and “Crafty Thaddeus” to get them out of the hole. But once they kicked off the second half, the rout was on: the Nets ended up out-rebounding the Nuggets despite their obvious size disadvantage, and staved off a poor shooting night from deep with a big 62 points in the paint.[note]The last time the Nets put up 60 in the paint? Against these Denver Nuggets.[/note]
A bad consistency: Per the NBA’s tracking data: on contested shots, the Nuggets shot a paltry 16-for-47. On open shots? 15-for-47.[note]Yes, these numbers are a bit skewed, because almost every shot inside is ruled as “contested” to some degree, since there’s less ground to cover. But either way: the Nuggets stunk up the joint.[/note]
The Nuggets aren’t a good basketball team. They’ve struggled under Brian Shaw, whose most high-profile moment this season may have been when he told a reporter he’s reading books on how to relate to millennials and taking away his player’s cell phones. But the Nets put together a dominant start-to-finish showing. After giving up a fourth-quarter run Friday night to the Lakers — who are worse than the Nuggets — a close-out performance like this is just the right medicine.
Undefeated update: The Nets are undefeated in the Thaddeus Young era.
Game Grades: Read ’em here.
Hey, It’s A Quicker Deron Williams:
It’s been a rough few months for Williams, who lost his starting spot to career journeyman Jarrett Jack and missed nearly a month with fractured cartilage in his rib in January. But it’s games like this that offer a glimpse into Williams’s potential: a quick creator who can put mismatches off-balance and exploit holes in defenses. Williams isn’t the elite point guard the Nets traded for exactly four years ago Monday, and to look at his game today and pine for that is a fool’s errand. But if the Nets can reasonably expect an all-around performance like Monday night’s for the rest of the season, they’ll surprise a few teams along the way.
‘KELUMINATI, ALL THROUGH YA BODY:
Yes, this highlight’s in the above mix. But in my defense: are you really mad you had to watch it twice?
Brown notched his first career double-double in his 45 minutes, putting up 10 points and 11 rebounds, adding four blocks.
— Cory Jefferson (@CoryJay34) February 24, 2015
Ian Eagle, Out Of Context: “French Fried!”
Okay, here’s the context:
Cory Jefferson, one the leaders of the Nets youth movement, took French forward & recent Nuggets signee Joffrey Lauvergne’s dunk attempt and told him precisely where he should put it. Specifically, with ketchup.[note]Just kidding. Ketchup is disgusting.[/note]
Just some chill bros:
I could — and have — watched this for hours. I believe it’s an important exhibit in American social politics.
At the very right is super chill bro. He’s just sipping his beer, relaxing, offering a welcoming smile or two, but just trying to enjoy a basketball game amongst his bros without causing a scene. In the middle is a bro with middling chill, clearly excited to rock a throwback Kerry Kittles jersey, but wary of getting too unchill, in fear that the world may see his truly unchill colors. On the very left is super wild bro, causing an incredible ruckus, tossing peanuts into the air with reckless abandon like he’s rubbing one-dollar bills from a his palms, and dancing like no one is watching. He is the bro paradox: he has the most fun, but is probably the least fun to be around.
This GIF isn’t just the wacky antics of Nets fans. It’s a microcosm of how we interact as humans, connecting one another with our various social interactions and cues. Just watch middling chill bro trying to placate both of his friends: both relaxing to enjoy the company of super chill bro, but still throwing a peanut in the air and trying to have a good time with his wildly unchill bro. He is the glue that holds these bros together at all. Bless you, middling chill bro. We need more heroes like you. And as for you, super wild bro: dance on.
NBA Record-Setting Weird Math, 20 Edition: The Nets shot 4-21 from three-point range, and still won by 28. That made them the first team in NBA history to shoot least 20 three-pointers, make fewer than 20 percent of them, and win by more than 20 points. The Nets have Alan Anderson (3-6 from deep) to thank for even a few of those. New strategy: miss all your threes.
Final Thoughts: Brook Lopez had a strong two-way game, despite his poor field goal percentage — he was aggressive inside on both ends, and the Nuggets shot 1-for-6 against him at the rim… Thaddeus Young’s photo should sit next to the words “crafty lefty” in the NBA dictionary… The “four-wide” lineup didn’t have the same success like Friday night — again, that all comes with making your three-pointers, which the Nets didn’t… Wonder what’ll happen to the starting lineup when Bogdanovic and Jack come back.
Next up: The Nets are near the end of their eight-game West Coast trip; they’ll take on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday night in New Orleans.