Game Recaps

Nets 95, Wizards 78: Deron doing Deron


You come into these games ready to take notes about where and how the Nets are turning the ball over, whether Mirza Teletovic can play any kind of consistent defense, when Brook Lopez is looking for his shot… but then a black swan event interrupts the flow of things and you’re left sitting there Tweeting inanities in lack of anything profound. Deron Williams entered Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards having recently been named the 17th worst contract in the NBA by Grantland’s Bill Simmons. His first move? Making his first three three-point attempts in the first three minutes. Then, it was four in the first four minutes, and five in the first four-and-a-half minutes. It kept going until we got to a preposterous 8-for-8 from three point range in the first half, at which point your blogger lost track of taking notes on those turnovers and that help defense and instead began Tweeting variations of the same pro-Deron affirmation. “He’s on fire!” “He’s tying this record!” “He’s tying that record!” etc.

So, yeah. Deron Williams entered the game an online punchline and exited the first half having hit nine three-pointers, good for the NBA record of most threes hit in a half and tying the Nets franchise record set by Vince Carter for most threes in a game. He broke the franchise record outright shortly into the third quarter, surely expunging some kind of baleful karmic spirit lingering about from Carter’s ignobly concluded tenure with the franchise. The Nets were up 59-33 at the half, which seemed an awfully considerate way of making sure everyone watching at home would be free enough to head out for a celebratory drink or two in Deron’s honor—because after all the junk he’s gotten this season for being out of shape, unfocused, insubordinate and overpaid, it was nice to see him get his in a pretty explosive offensive display.

Of course, it wasn’t all magic: Part of his performance was enabled by the Wizards inexplicably leaving him open time and time again even though you’d figure “don’t let the guy who’s scored more than your roster out of your sight” would be standard operating procedure for any team… but Washington didn’t figure it out, thus enabling him to shoot almost unchallenged en route to his record-setting night.

Williams ended up with 42 points overall on 15 of 24 shooting, with just one attempted free throw. He was 11-of-16 from three-point range after that first half, seeming reticent to shoot it in the second half outside of a few lazy tries from deep. The Wizards got within 13 with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, but never pushed past that. Certainly not a bad night to launch this blog’s inaugural weekend.


° Hard to draw any conclusions in a game like this when the Nets are up by double digits in the first quarter and barely relent throughout the rest of the game, because who knows whether the players feel at license to mess around once they’re dominating. (Reggie Evans scored with a spin move in the second quarter, which I think might’ve been to fulfill a bet.) But that said…

° Evans had a reputation for defense due to his rebounding, but he was constantly losing his man and committing bad fouls, in addition to whiffing on inside shots he shouldn’t have been taking to begin with. Against the Wizards! (Again, the Williams effect may have emboldened him.) One problem I’ve noticed this season is that a lot of the Nets seem intent on playing how they want, rather than how they should—leading to those awkward moments where you’re shaking your head as Evans airballs a reverse layup. He’s also pretty fond of elbowing dudes, leading to an almost testy moment in the third quarter when Emeka Okafor threw him to the ground. (Which surprisingly didn’t lead to any scuffle, though maybe I was just hoping for something more exciting to happen in a double-digit blow out.) In nicer news, Evans did have his league-leading fourth 20+ rebound game of the season, finishing with a career high 24. He also air balled a free throw during a 5-of-16 performance from the line. All over the place, really.

° With the night he was having, it didn’t exactly matter that Williams was having a hard time staying in front of John Wall. (Though is anyone capable of doing that?) He didn’t get faked out on a second quarter crossover so much as he stood there, allowing Wall to easily dunk the ball.

° Continuing a season-long trend, the Nets were outscored 25-15 in the third quarter—though, again, can you blame them?

° They also committed 18 turnovers to go along with 66 in their last three games, most of which I tagged as due to lazy passes rather than an endemic inability to control the ball. 84 over four games isn’t fun… but again, hard to read too much into things during a blowout.

Gerald, don’t hurt ‘em

Of course the NBA should closer resemble the WWE. Why not? (Thankfully, Wall wasn’t hurt.)