The Brooklyn Nets led the Golden State Warriors from start to finish to only rely on late game heroics from Jarrett Jack. Jack’s jumper with 1.1 seconds left on the clock gave the Nets the lead and the win. It erased the charge Warriors lead by point guard Stephen Curry. His 18 fourth quarter points put the Warriors in a position to win the game despite Brooklyn leading for a majority of the game. The win puts the Nets (25-33) into sole possession of the eighth seed in the playoffs.
Here are three good and three bad things from the Nets win over the Warriors.
Three Good Things:
Aggressive Deron Williams is Back! - Aggressive Deron Williams is the best Deron Williams. It isn’t the most efficient Deron, but he is the DW that can help the Nets the most. Williams was 8-19 from the field, 4-7 from three, while dishing out 4 assists. He finally looks healthy enough to run the team effectively. Being aggressive has it’s drawbacks though as Williams had 4 turnovers and didn’t play great fourth quarter defense. I think his 34 minutes may have been a bit much, but he played well for the majority of them.
The Bench - The Nets bench was the most impressive part of this game. Brook Lopez carried the unit with 26 points, on 11-22 shooting, and 6 rebounds. The backup center was active on both ends of the floor and seemed like he could not miss at times. Thad Young had another impressive game with his new team as he put up 14 points, on 5-9 shooting, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. The unit was rounded out by Jarrett Jack (9 points and 5 assists) and Bojan Bogdanovic (7 points). Neither had big scoring totals, but they played efficient basketball and Jarrett Jack hit the game winning shot.
Shutting Klay Thompson Down - A big part of the Nets stealing a win against the Warriors was that Klay Thompson did not play well at any point in the game. He shot 3-17 from the field and 1-9 from three point range. Markel Brown and Alan Anderson combined to play fantastic defense on one of the league’s best perimeter players the whole game. If Thompson gets hot at any point in this game the Nets lose, but they didn’t let it happen.
Three Bad Things:
Big Man Defense - The Nets’ big men struggled on the defensive end in the first half. It could be due to the small ball lineups that Lionel Hollins has employed since the acquisition of Thad Young. The bigs kept finding themselves on an island on pick and rolls which gave the Warriors easy alley oop opportunities. Andrew Bogut had 16 first half points, including a hook shot that made Coach Steve Kerr cackle, to lead the Warriors. The defense tightened up in the second half, but they still struggled in the pick and roll.
Fourth Quarter Steph Defense - Steph Curry was finding himself wide open too much in the fourth quarter. He fueled the Warriors comeback and the Nets allowed him to get hot. I think Curry is the hardest player in the league to stop once he’s hot. Actually, he was more than hot. Curry was shooting hot lava from his fingers while his feet lit the floor on fire as he walked. The Nets were relying Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack to cool Curry down. That didn’t happen. They consistently lost him in transition (not smart), going around screens (difficult to not do) or when he crossed one of them up so bad they looked lost (happens to everyone).
Markel Brown’s Minutes - When Lionel Hollins was in Memphis, coaching the Grizzlies, he consistently caught the ire of the fan base because of his unwillingness to play Tony Allen at times. I don’t think Hollins likes players that can only play one side of the ball. He has found his new Tony Allen in Markel Brown. Brown isn’t as good of an on-ball defender as Allen, but he’s really good and probably the best the Nets have. There was no reason that Markel Brown didn’t have a chance to stop Steph Curry in the fourth quarter. It should be interesting to see if Brown’s playing time keeps fluctuating going forward.