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Recap: Nets 110, Warriors 108

BOX SCORE

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.

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Recap: Nets 104, Mavericks 94

The Brooklyn Nets played tough tonight in Dallas and on the last stop in the team’s eight-game road trip that began before the All-Star break and has consumed almost the entire month of February, and used a 35-21 third quarter to put the game away against the (39-22) Dallas Mavericks.

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Recap: Nets 98, Rockets 102

The Nets Nets’d pretty hard tonight. Even a Dwight-less Rockets team isn’t an easy win by any stretch for this Brooklyn club, but after leading all game and by double-digits at multiple points, to blow it all in the final minutes? Yikes.

Houston got off to a dreadful start, looking completely out of sorts defensively in the first half. Brooklyn got everything it wanted, to the point where no subs were made all quarter. All. Quarter. In typical Nets fashion, the second quarter was less of a breeze, allowing the Rockets to get back in the game. The Nets would regain control, though, and keep it heading into the final stanza of the game where Houston came back and held off Brooklyn from making any last-chance game-saving plays.

The Nets transition defense was awful all night and right now Cory Jefferson and Markel Brown look like their saviors. So all’s well.

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Grades: Read More

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Trending in Brooklyn: The Point Guards are on Fire

The Brooklyn Nets had a busy All-Star break, co-hosting the festivities and taking part in the trade deadline mania by sending Kevin Garnett back to Minnesota in a swap for Thaddeus Young. Brooklyn’s been off to a solid start since the busy break, going 2-1 in the last three games with all contests coming on the road. Let’s take a look at the recent trends: Read More

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Recap: Nets 96, Pelicans 102

After back-to-back offensive explosions in Los Angeles and Denver to start the post-All Star portion of their schedule, the Brooklyn Nets came out firing blanks in New Orleans. The injury-riddled Pelicans held the Nets to double-digit points through the first nine minutes of the first quarter and, outside of a couple of stretches in the second and third quarters, led throughout the evening. There were plenty of encouraging signs for the Nets and head coach Lionel Hollins to reflect on going forward – namely the play of Thaddeus Young, Markel Brown, Brook Lopez’s first half, and Joe Johnson’s 12-point third quarter – but Brooklyn allowed the Pels to shoot 51.4% from the field in a game in which they were without Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Ryan Anderson.

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The Nets’ Concerning Position on Analytics

Analytics are a hot topic in basketball right now, as a storm of different events has brought the analytics vs. “eye-test” debate to the foreground once again. A couple of weeks ago, Charles Barkley expressed his disapproval for analytics in a now famous rant both against both the use of advanced metrics in the NBA, and the types of people who use analytics. Since Barkley’s diatribe a couple other things of note have kept analytics as hot topic. At the NBA’s Trade Deadline noted analytic junkie Sam Hinkie once again traded away some of the Sixers more valuable assets in Michael Carter-Williams and K.J. McDaniels, drawing the ire of many of the non-numbers fans (and some numbers guys) of the NBA.

Now as the analytic community prepares for its yearly gathering at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston this weekend a storm of articles have appeared with some sort of spin on analytics and sports. Among this flurry was a great article by ESPN writers Kevin Pelton, Kevin Seifert, Craig Custance, and Ben Baumer that debuted on ESPN’s homepage ranking how devoted each franchise in the four major sports are to analytics. For the NBA, Pelton separated teams into one of five groups: All-In, Believers, One Foot In, Skeptics, or Non-Believers. Among the NBA’s 30 teams Pelton only graded three franchises as “Non-Believers,” the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks, and the Brooklyn Nets. There are very real debates to be had about the use of analytics, but as smarter people than myself have argued, there is no debate that analytics have some usefulness at an NBA level. For example, it’s probably not a coincidence that the Knicks, Lakers, and Nets are all struggling this year. This piece is not intended to be a debate on the merits of using analytics, but instead on how the Nets apparent lack of interest in analytics is hurting them. Read More

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Three Man Weave: Week 18 Edition

For a day or two leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline the Brooklyn Nets dominated the NBA’s rumor mill, with Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, and even Jarrett Jack possibilities on the table. By the end of the league’s most hectic deadline day in its history, the Nets and general manager Billy King managed just a single trade: sending Kevin Garnett back to his first NBA franchise in Minnesota, for forward Thaddeus Young. For the first time maybe in months, Brook Lopez can seemingly relax without seeing his name in trade reports. Read More

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Recap: Nets 110, Nuggets 82

That was real, real solid. Good teams beat bad teams, and usually do so in convincing fashion. Thus was the case for the Nets tonight, even with Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic sidelined.

The game’s first quarter was less than impressive for Brooklyn, with Denver’s athletic prowess looking like it alone could keep them in contention all night. The Nuggets swallowed up offensive boards and got quite a few transition looks to go. The second quarter was more of the same, until Cory Jefferson checked in with a few minutes to go and sparked a Nets run which carried over into the third, which extended to an insurmountable lead which Brooklyn rode to victory. Denver’s a very bad team, so I wouldn’t encourage any real excitement quiet yet. Though, there were some good signs, especially from the young guys and the general energy of the team.

Oh, yeah, before we get to the grades, the Nets also signed Thomas Robinson today.

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Nets sign Thomas Robinson

Nice.

As if the Thaddeus Young trade wasn’t evidence enough, it’s pretty clear now that the Nets are making an effort to get younger and more athletic. One good way to do so is picking up a well-traveled top draft pick with tons of potential to play back-up minutes.

Robinson is a 6’10″ power forward with a 7’3″ wingspan and 35-inch max vertical who was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 Draft. He’s since been traded to the Rockets, then to the Blazers, then to the Nuggets before finally getting waived. T-Rob is far from polished, but is a rebounding machine, collecting 11.7 per-36 minutes over his career. As a team, the Blazers collected 3.1% more available defensive boards with Robinson on the floor this year. He’s a willing shooter from mid-range, but not an efficient one just yet. 21 of his 47 field goals this season came on dunks.

The Nets have been lacking in frontcourt depth since Mirza Teletovic was declared out for the season, to the point of seemingly playing Joe Johnson at the four full-time right now. Robinson won’t be an impact player, but having a young piece with room to grow and veterans to help him do so will almost never backfire.

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Recap: Nets 114, Lakers 105

@NetsPR: The Nets are now 1-0 with Thaddeus Young on the roster

That was fun. The Nets ran the lowly Lakers out of their own gym behind possibly the team’s best offensive performance all season. Why was the offense so deadly? Well, Brooklyn played small-ball with Joe Johnson at the four for most of the contest, Bojan Bogdanovic looked like a new man, Deron Williams fueled the team’s ball movement and Brook Lopez did Brook Lopez type things.

It wasn’t all this peachy 24 minutes in, however. The Nets essentially traded baskets with the Lakers through the first two quarters, with both teams playing equally bad defense. Brooklyn actually trailed Los Angeles by one at the halftime break, but exploded in the third to the tune of a 40-20 quarter. That’s the most points the Nets have scored in a quarter all season. Shots were falling, the defense stepped up, and the Nets coasted to victory. (EDIT: Started writing the recap about when the Lakers made it a close-ish game in the fourth. It’s okay though, Brooklyn closed it out!)

FULL BOX SCORE

Grades:

Joe Johnson: When Joe Johnson’s offense is primarily catch-and-shoot tries, it is beautiful. Such was the case tonight, and Johnson responded with a smooth 23 points on 11 shots with five threes despite the injury concerns. His defense was really shaky early on, but playing the four isn’t something he’s used to and those bigger bodies are tough to handle. But then he couldn’t really deny Ryan Kelly either. A-

Mason Plumlee: Plumlee played just 17 minutes due to a rough start in all facets and Lopez having a solid outing. He couldn’t guard Robert Sacre, which is… unsettling. D+

Deron Williams: ALL OF THE DIMES, ALL OF THE DIMES. How about 15 assists for D-Will, the most he’s dropped in a Nets uniform. He was super active offensively, even if a lot of his shooting looks didn’t look very good. Can’t complain much though, even with how ‘meh’ he looked defensively. B+

Alan Anderson: The perfect Alan Anderson game. Didn’t force much on offense, put in a lot of effort on defense. 14 points on six shots along with four boards and five dimes. A

Bojan Bogdanovic: This Bojan. Every night. Please. Everything was aggressive, confident, happening with gusto. Bogie even tried a few flashy passes! He attacked the rim with, dare I say, ferocity. He pulled it from three whenever he felt like it. And it ended in a 16-point outing on 6-12 shooting from the field. He even had a poster dunk. I swear. A+

Cory Jefferson: Spot minutes mostly. He’s athletic and young, which is cool, but he tried too hard on offense, trying some post-moves I’m skeptical he can make consistently. C-

Brook Lopez: The 22 points is nothing new. The 14 rebounds against a semi-athletic Lakers frontcourt though? Solid. Very solid. His defense was ugly to watch at times, but when isn’t it? A-

Thaddeus Young: Hard to pin him for mistakes when he’s on a brand new team, but there weren’t many tonight. His close range game was working, scoring eight points on 4-8 shooting and grabbing four rebounds in 12 minutes. I’d expect him to be in the starting lineup as soon as he gets comfortable with the system. B

Markel Brown: He’s athletic and fun please play him more. B

Darius Morris: He shouldn’t get playing time once Jarrett Jack is back. D+

Next game: @ Nuggets on Monday, February 23rd.