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Recap: Nets 110, Pistons 105

The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons at home tonight, 110-105. For tonight’s recap I kept a running diary of the action, starting in the second half. You can find all stats and box score information here.

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Report: Nets discussing Williams trade with Kings

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Nets are in talks with the Sacramento Kings about a deal centered around Deron Williams.

The talks have centered on sending the Nets point guard Darren Collison and forwards Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson as part of a multi-player package for Williams, league sources said.

Sacramento has significant interest with Williams, but a hurdle to a possible deal is the Kings’ desire to have center Mason Plumlee included into the package, league sources said. Brooklyn has considered Plumlee a significant part of its future core.

With GM Billy King putting his big three on the trading block earlier this season and the Nets in a rut, reports of a trade in the works shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a trade similar to the one Woj lays out above, Brooklyn would address some concerns by getting younger and more athletic. Williams is currently sporting his lowest PER since his rookie season and is shooting a career-worst 40.3% from the field.

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Recap: Nets 91, Cavaliers 95

The Nets got off to a blistering start in the first quarter, with the flex offense, well, flexing on the Cavaliers’ 23rd-ranked defense. But, as has become the custom, Brooklyn cooled down and the offense stagnated. Didn’t take long for Cleveland to take control, but they wouldn’t pull away. The Nets kept it relatively close until a late fourth quarter run led by LeBron James – who sources close to the situation tell me is good at basketball – gave the Cavs a six-point edge with under a minute to play. Joe Johnson hit a three, Jarrett Jack poked the ball away and Brooklyn pushed the ball up with a chance at a game-tying three. The break led nowhere, Lionel Hollins didn’t call timeout and Kevin Garnett heaved up a contested three that fell short. Brooklyn now falls to 10-15 on the season.

FULL BOX SCORE Read More

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Trending In Brooklyn: The Nets Can’t Beat Good Teams

In the two weeks since I last wrote this column the Nets have put together a dismal 2-5 record, with the two wins coming against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets who combine for a tremendously awful 8-41 record and four of the give losses were handed out by teams north of .500, which brings us to our first trend: Read More

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How Brook Lopez hurts the Nets offense

The Nets have way too much talent to be such a crummy offensive team, that much is a given. Brooklyn ranks 23rd in the league in offensive efficiency, their worst mark since the 2011-12 season. What gives?

Fans may point to Brook Lopez missing seven (eight counting yesterday’s Raptors game) games for the Nets this season, however Brooklyn’s 100.2 points per 100 possessions with Lopez on the court still leaves them with the seventh-worst offense in basketball. Although the Nets score ever-so-slightly better with Lopez on the floor for them, the idea that the seven-footer is hurting the team’s offense can be true at the same time. Read More

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Recap: Brooklyn Nets 105, Toronto Raptors 89

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games. It was the play of wisdom, it was the play of foolishness. And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hill, ’til the landslide brought me down. Whoops, I always mix up my Dickens and my Fleetwood Mac.

This Brooklyn Nets 105-89 loss to the Toronto Raptors was a mixed bag of a game. Sometimes you reach in the bag and you pull out a candy bar, such as a wonderful, fluid fast break where Deron Williams drives to the lane and kicks to Joe Johnson on the wing, who then fizzes a ball to Mason Plumlee under the basket. Another time you might stick your hand in the bag and find the corpse of a mouse, like Joe Johnson’s late-game isolations, or Deron’s wild turnovers in the fourth quarter when he decided he was done attacking the lane.

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RECAP: Nets 91, Heat 95 – The Rain Delay Game

Miami Heat 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Garnett, PF 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4  -  B

KG finished with only an assist on the night but was integral to the Nets’ ball movement early in the game. Working as the screener with Deron, Garnett is excellent at floating/popping after the pick and then making a quick, extra pass from the high-post. He was responsible for a couple of Plumlee free throws, after Plum cut to the rim around the high pick-and-roll, and his sole assist produced one of Plum’s reverse dunks. A quiet 10 rebounds and some ball movement are about what we’ve come to expect from KG this season, along with a couple of field goals and some steady, if limited, minutes.

Joe Johnson, SF 37 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +8  -  B

We saw very little of “Iso Joe” tonight against Luol Deng, as he worked mostly off-the-ball and spotted up off of the rest of the Nets action. His lack of free-throw attempts reflect his passivity on offense, but without his 4-8 shooting from three the Nets would have made only 4 of 20 shots from deep. If he wasn’t going to dominate the ball and work out of the post it would’ve been nice to see him pick up Dwyane Wade a bit more on defense, as he was the only Nets defender with the size and discipline to not fall for Wade’s tricks, and he bothered him on a couple of possessions, including Wade’s last shot that Deng offensive-rebounded and drew the foul on Bojan.

Mason Plumlee, C 32 MIN | 8-12 FG | 5-8 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | -4  -  A+

Plum was the best Net to suit up tonight. 21 points, 9 rebounds (5 offensive), 8 free throws, 3 reverse dunks, and a huge blocked shot in 32 minutes over-compensated for his four turnovers, as he was also the most active Net. The Nets offense wasn’t exactly humming this evening, considering all of the three-pointers the team missed (more on that in a bit), but Plum did a great job of cutting off of Deron and KG pick-and-rolls and finishing around the basket. He’s been getting more lobs thrown his way lately and he seemed to convert a handful of alley-oops around the rim against the Heat, and his hard cuts and dives drew the help defender and opened up some good looks on the perimeter, which, again, didn’t go in. If Plum maintains his energy level on a night that the shooters can actually make a shot, the Nets could explode offensively (see: Saturday night in Charlotte).

Deron Williams, PG 39 MIN | 4-12 FG | 6-7 FT | 1 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +3  -  B+

Deron finished with 11 assists and didn’t commit a turnover until the two costly give-aways down the stretch. He held opposing starter Norris Cole to just four points in 31 minutes but rookie Shabazz Napier came out firing off the bench by making three of his four three-point attempts and Mario Chalmers finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 free-throw attempts. Deron again struggled with his jumper, missing 8 of his 12 shot attempts, and could have won the game tonight had he caught fire and carried the offense through some dry stretches (like the second quarter).

Sergey Karasev, SG 22 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -3  -  B-

Sergey looked to bruise the left side of his body a couple of times tonight but left the game in the third quarter and didn’t return. He was active on offense in his 22 minutes, even making a play on a back-cut off-the-ball and skipping the ball around on the perimeter for his three assists. Like many, many other players before him, though, Karasev was roasted by future-Hall of Famer Dwayne Wade. Wade began the game by scoring 12 of Miami’s first 16 points, mostly by utilizing his patented up-fakes and “old man game” to keep Sergey off-balance, before abusing him with his arsenal of mid-range and mid-post moves. Hopefully his “sore left side” won’t hamper him for the remaining three games on the schedule this week.

Cory Jefferson, PF 10 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -9  -  C

I was ready to give Jefferson an A at least if he finished that cock-back dunk attempt on Chris “Birdman” Andersen in the first quarter, but Jerome Jordan had his back at the 11-minute mark of the fourth quarter and was able to jam on Birdman. Limited minutes kept Cory from getting completely comfortable in the game tonight, but he could be in line to start Wednesday night against the Raptors if KG again gets the second night of a back-to-back off to rest.

Mirza Teletovic, PF 11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -4  -  C-

Mirza predictably struggled after returning to the court after missing the last three games with a hip pointer. He hit a three-pointer that sparked some Nets momentum and almost threw down a dunk on the fast break after some extra ball movement but was largely passive and ineffective tonight in his return to NBA action.

Jerome Jordan, C 5 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -4  -  C+

It’s tough to evaluate a player’s performance in just five minutes of game time but Jordan came in and was okay against the quicker Miami Heat offense, as far as recovering at the rim and grabbing boards. He had a nice dive off of the pick-and-roll and picked up two offensive rebounds in the third quarter, and should see significantly more minutes tomorrow night in Toronto on the second night of a back-to-back.

Jarrett Jack, PG 29 MIN | 1-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -10  -  B-

It was maybe a quiet five dimes and three steals from Jarrett Jack, but the 1-6 shooting from the floor left more of a lasting impression tonight. His missed layup down four might have only delayed the inevitable defeat for Brooklyn, as the Heat are a decent free-throw shooting team, and the dual-point guard lineup down the stretch helped to quicken the pace and allowed the Nets to close a ten-point lead in about a minute of game time. That corner three with two minutes left in the game was a big miss, and Jack’s issues continue to revolve around his shot selection and turnovers (four tonight).

Bojan Bogdanovic, SG 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -3  -  C

Bojan had a huge three-pointer to cut the Heat lead to two with 35.1 seconds left, before committing the loose-ball foul on Luol Deng on the defensive end. He got to the free-throw line on one of his customary back-door cuts, but otherwise only attempted shots from beyond the arc.

Alan Anderson, SG 17 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2  -  C-

The Nets needed a defensive presence on the perimeter tonight to slow down Dwyane Wade, but Anderson suffered the same fate as Sergey Karasev did guarding the former-”Flash”. Anderson made Wade work harder to get his shot off, as Wade put a bit more arc on his baseline fall-aways with Anderson on his hip, but still struggled on both ends and missed all three of his field goal attempts on the night.

Lionel Hollins  -  B

Hollins threw a few different lineups out tonight, to combat the small-ball preferences of his Heat-counterpart, Erik Spoelstra. Miami went super-small at one point in the second half by subbing Mario Chalmers in for starting center Justin Hamilton, which Coach Hollins countered by keeping Plum at the pivot and going to Mirza at the power forward. The pairing was okay defensively, even conceding all the speed. His best move tonight was extending Mason’s minutes into the ’30′s, and his rotations tomorrow night will be worth monitoring.

THREE THINGS WE SAW

  1. The game was delayed for 31 minutes towards the end of the first quarter after the roof of the Barclays Center sprung a leak, due to some recent work going on in the building. Rather than sending an intern into the rafters with some chewed gum and a roll of duct tape, the Barclays staff repaired the issue before the game was called. This might have been the first NBA game in my 15 years as a fan that featured a sustained rain delay.
  2. Dwyane Wade was really, really good tonight. He was locked in from the opening tip and didn’t over-extend his game, preferring to do his damage from inside the arc and only turned the ball over twice in 36 minutes. For an injury-riddled team that recently lost their starting front-court to injury (Josh McRoberts for the season and Chris Bosh for only a week or two), Miami needed Dwyane Wade to take over tonight. He dropped 28 points on 24 shots and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists, while matched up against the second-year Sergey Karasev.
  3. The Nets lost to the Miami Heat because of three factors tonight: shaky perimeter shooting, turnovers, and bad bench play. Take away the last two made three-pointers down the stretch from Joey J and Bojan and the Nets shot 6-26 from three over the first 46 minutes or so of this game. Committing 17 turnovers as a team might have been one less than Miami, but shooting under 30% from three while giving the ball away that many times will lose many a game in the NBA. Finally, the Nets were -11 in bench points compared to Miami. Three Heat players scored in double figures while coming off the bench (‘Rio, ‘Bazz, and Shawne Williams), while Brooklyn totaled just 24 points from their second unit in tonight’s loss.

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Three Man Weave: Week Eight Edition

Few teams have had as hectic and chaotic a week as the Brooklyn Nets last week. It began with a back injury that sidelined starting center Brook Lopez, but minor injuries also kept Joe Johnson (flu) and Mirza Teletovic (hip) out of multiple games, forcing head coach Lionel Hollins to fill out four different starting lineups in the team’s four games. After Monday’s blowout loss at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ohm Youngmisuk that the front office had begun entertaining trade offers on their “Big 3” of Deron Williams, Johnson, and Lopez, leaking just hours before trading Andrei Kirilenko, Jorge Gutierrez, and a second-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for forward Brandon Davies and guard Darius Morris. Amidst all the injuries and trade speculation, and after three-straight 20-point losses against good Eastern Conference opponents, the Nets responded by sweeping the two games of their back-to-back against the 76ers and in Charlotte Saturday night, leading by as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter against the Hornets.

Brooklyn will have another tough four-game week on the schedule, with a back-to-back against the Miami Heat and in Toronto starting Tuesday, and games in Cleveland Friday and home against the Detroit Pistons next Sunday. Brook’s back will keep him out of an additional three games, but even the threat of his return prompted questions following Saturday night’s victory as to whether it’s a positive for this Nets offense, considering their recent stretch of ball movement.

In the Week Eight Three Man Weave, our experts will address the performances of some of the Nets’ young and unlikely starting players from last week, the possibility of a major trade, and if the offense is better without Brook. We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.

1.) Between injuries and ineffectiveness, Lionel Hollins made multiple changes to his starting lineups last week and got nice performances from some of his young players (Mason Plumlee, Sergey Karasev, Cory Jefferson); which young guy were you most impressed by last week?

David Vertsberger: I still have to see more from Karasev and Jefferson, so by default Plumlee gets my vote. He was able to play well by sticking to what he does best and not trying to make plays he can’t make. See: posting up.

Brian McNichols: I was most impressed by Cory Jefferson (ridiculous 16-foot 3-point attempt not withstanding). With his athleticism and activity he gives the Nets a youthful feeling that they lack with Lopez and KG. If he can become one of those energy guys that just wreaks havoc on defense and gets 10 points in 18 minutes that could mean a lot for a team that needs to rest guys. I also want to quickly mention Plumlee here; not that he was super-impressive, but he looked closer to the player we saw over the summer. His return to form is incredibly important for this team.

Kenny Garner: I was impressed that Cory Jefferson was able to step back on a basketball court after that horrible airball. All kidding aside, Mason Plumlee has really played well in Brook Lopez’s absence. He posted two double doubles this past week and is slowly becoming more of an offensive threat. After a slow start to his sophomore campaign, he has really found himself.

2.) Do you think the Nets trade one of their “Big 3” this season? Should they?

Verts: The only reason I’m saying “no” here is because I’m not sure any team in the league is very willing to take on Williams, Johnson or Lopez. Although all three can be helpful, their contracts are a burden to say the least. Enough so to outweigh the potential benefits of trading for them.

McNichols: I think they should trade Brook Lopez. I like Brook a lot, and he’s a very talented offensive player, but he slows everything down. I’m starting to wonder if Brook just doesn’t quite fit in today’s NBA, but I’m not ready to conclude that. I do think he’s not right for this team as it’s currently made up, though. That said, I don’t think anyone goes anywhere. With those contracts there are only a few options out there, such as the Lakers, Knicks, or Pistons, and I’m not sure the Nets will want any of the wares being peddled by those teams.

Garner: I think they want to, but I question the market for those guys. Johnson and Williams are both past their primes and are making a lot of money. Lopez has had issues with his health, but I think he has the most value. Centers are at a premium in this league and he is only 26. I can see the Kings making a play for Williams or Johnson. Vivek Ranadive appears to have unrealistic expectations for his team and it wouldn’t surprise me if he risked his team’s future to trade for Joe Johnson or Deron Williams. The Hornets are another team to pay attention to after reports said they were shopping Lance Stephenson.

3.) Is the Nets offense better without Brook Lopez?

Verts: Story coming soon. Can I just leave it at that? Look, statistically it isn’t. But schematically, boy does it looks way better without Lopez. That’s the simplest answer to a complex question.

McNichols: I kind of answered that above but… yeah. Sorry, big guy.

Garner: Their small-ball lineup worked well without him last year, but two years ago they won 49 games with him. After two double-digit wins without Lopez, Net fans are ready to trade the big. However, beating the 76ers and the Hornets is nothing to be proud of. As Tim Cato of SB Nation points out, it’s the Nets defense that actually suffers with Lopez on the floor. Either way, unless the Nets can find a trade partner for Lopez, they need to find a way to use him. Lionel Hollins has made bigger lineups work before, so he should be up to the task.

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Recap: Brooklyn Nets 114, Charlotte Hornets 87

This game was exactly what the Brooklyn Nets needed. This game was a confidence builder. This game was shooting practice. This game was over in the first 10 minutes. This game was about white hot fire spewing forth from the shooting hand of every Nets player as they incinerated the Charlotte Hornets.

Joe Johnson became the Human Torch sometime in the second quarter

Joe Johnson became the Human Torch sometime in the second quarter

Here’s the list of Brooklyn players that shot under 50%: Deron Williams (4-11), Sergey Karasev (1-3), and Brandon Davies (2-5).

Here’s the list of Brooklyn players that shot under 50% from 3-point range: Brandon Davies (0-1).

Here’s the list of Brooklyn players that played badly: [data not found]

To be honest with you, I was a little afraid when I saw the starting lineup. With no Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, or Mirza Teletovic, that meant Sergey Karasev, Mason Plumlee, and Cory Jefferson started alongside Williams and Johnson. Those five just didn’t seem like they could slow down Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, or especially Al Jefferson.

Luckily for the Nets, Charlotte played a double-overtime game against Memphis last night. On top of that I’m pretty sure they were attacked by vampires and each Hornet suffered vision-altering head trauma. I’ve watched limited amounts of the Hornets this season because I am not generally self-hating, but this was putrid.

Charlotte looked disorganized, confused, and utterly without a plan of attack. Most of all they seemed disinterested in even trying. They were having a rough night against a supernova of a Nets team and went into “woe is me” Charlie Brown mode.

CharlieBrown

Wait a minute…that’s missing something

CharlieBrownLance

Come on Lance, leave the kid alone!

Anyway, Brooklyn ended up shooting 58.3% from the field, 69.6% (!!!) (Ed. note: nice) from three, assisting on 29 of their 42 made baskets, out-rebounding, out-hustling, and outplaying the Hornets. Coach Hollins got to empty his bench and see the potential that exists in some of his young guys while seeing the talent that lies withing his stars. Sure, we’d all like to see this sort of performance against a team that isn’t so depressed that it’s reading Emily Dickinson poetry at halftime, but you take what you get.

I’m eschewing player grades for my second recap in a row. Wednesday night was because of a pathetic showing at Chicago, but this one is for a much better reason (if you’re a Nets fan). Brooklyn was fantastic and ’tis the season, so they all get the same grade…

A+

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Brooklyn takes care of Philly

To spare you the trouble of watching the Sixers, I hoped to write a worthy recap to sum up the 88-70 win for Brooklyn in the most painless way possible. Unfortunately, I fell asleep in the middle of the second quarter, which sums up all you need to know about the not-so-captivating matchup.

But hey, Mason Plumlee had a season-high 18 points!

Philadelphia 76ers 70 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Garnett, PF 22 MIN | 2-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +12

Garnett did standard KG things on the way to his third-highest rebounding performance of the season. He wasn’t asked to do much offensively, but the team played well defensively with the team allowing 67 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.

Joe Johnson, SF 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 12 PTS | +4

Joe Johnson played like a veteran that was playing against the worst team in basketball. He found his way to 12 points, but also had a team-high 5 turnovers.

Mason Plumlee, C 35 MIN | 9-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +8

Mason Plumlee played a season-high in minutes and responded with his second double-double of the season. Plumlee was active early, and ended up finishing with a season-high 18 points on 9 of 14 shooting.

Deron Williams, PG 29 MIN | 0-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +8

Williams could not find his shot early, and he seemed to make a conscious effort to get others involved instead of forcing the issue. His second-highest assist performance of the season helped to offset the 3 points on 0 of 8 shooting from the field.

Sergey Karasev, SG 28 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +3

Karasev continued to see his increased action after his 31 minutes against Chicago. Although he didn’t play as much (27 minutes), the team had its highest offensive rating with him on the court.

Three Things We Saw

  1. With the younger Mason Plumlee and Sergey Karasev in the starting lineup, the Nets were able to combat the youth from the Sixers to handle their energy. Philadelphia came out aggressive in the first quarter, but when Brooklyn maintained a 22-18 advantage, the energy tapered off as Brooklyn ran away in the fourth quarter.
  2. The Nets struggled from beyond the arc with just 5 of 20 shooting. Although they didn’t need the 3-ball against the Sixers, the 25 percent shooting from 3-point range is concerning. The Nets are averaging 6.5 threes made per game, which is a 25 percent decrease from last season. The decreased shooting is a concern to keep an eye on.
  3. Although the Sixers had a lead going into halftime, the team proved why its the most dominant tanking squad in the NBA. The only bright spot for the 76ers was Robert Covington, who finished with six 3-pointers made to lead the team with 20 points. Taking away his hot shooting, Philadelphia shot just 27 percent from the field.