Game Recaps

Recap: Nets 88, Jazz 95

If there’s one positive to come out of tonight’s devastating loss to the Utah Jazz, it’s that hopefully the dual-point guard experiment with Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack in the lineup together will finally be put to rest. Head coach Lionel Hollins avoided the combination completely in the first half, letting his starters play the entire first quarter and then going to Jack for the first six-plus minutes of the second, before subbing Williams back in at point. In the third quarter Jack entered for Deron at the 4:57-mark and would play the rest of the game, but was joined by Williams with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter and the Nets down by three.


After five quick points from Elijah Millsap and then a step-back three from rookie Rodney Hood, the Nets went from trailing by a point to suddenly down by nine just two minutes into the fourth quarter. Hollins took a quick timeout and brought Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson back into the game, and back-to-back Brook buckets brought Brooklyn from down nine to within three points, at 75-78. Deron Williams then came in for Alan Anderson and Hollins went to his dual-point lineup for the first time all game, in the Nets’ biggest stretch of the night.

In the first double-point guard possession for the Nets’ offense, Jarrett Jack penetrated with the dribble and found a cutting Brook Lopez for a no-look leave and an “and-one” quasi-dunk at the rim. It was a nice find and an even better pass from Jack, and Brook went to the free-throw line after scoring the last three Nets field goals (on their last three possessions). He missed the free throw and Gordon Hayward responded on the other end with a three-pointer for the Jazz, putting them back up by four.

The Brooklyn offense wouldn’t make another field goal for the next three minutes. The ensuing Nets’ possessions, after turning to the Deron/Jack lineup, were:

05:23 - Lopez “dunk” ( has it as a “dunk shot” but it looked like Brook got shoved before he could flush it, at least on my original viewing). He would miss the free throw.

04:46 - Lopez turnover. “Bad pass” and stolen by Hayward.

04:20 - Lopez missed layup.

03:42 - Jack turnover. is again going to judge and label it a “bad pass”, as Gordon Hayward gets another steal.

03:33 - Jack “out of bounds lost ball turnover” (his fifth of the game).

03:10 - Brook Lopez makes the front-end of his two free-throw attempts.

02:39 - Thaddeus Young misses a jumper that was blocked by Derrick Favors.

02:15 - Young converts a layup to make it a 80-88 game.

01:43 - Deron Williams turns it over after dropping the pass at his feet out of bounds.

From there Brook Lopez would make his next two free throws and Thaddeus Young would hit a three off of a Hayward turnover, but with 42.4 seconds remaining and the score at 92-85, the Utah Jazz would need just a Derrick Favors make at the free-throw line (plus a Hayward garbage-time jumper) to win the game by six. The Nets erupted for eight points in the last 1:08 but scored just five points in the over-four-minute stretch preceding that explosion, when the game was within a single point. As has been a commonality all season for the Brooklyn Nets, the minutes-long stretches of settling for long jumpers and committing bad turnovers came back to bite the team.

When Lionel Hollins decided to go to Jack and Williams to close the game, his justification was presumably to add offense against a team that has led the league in defensive rating (or points allowed per 100 possessions) since the All-Star break. Instead the scoring stagnated with the addition of a second ball-handler and when the ball moved, it did so out of bounds or back to the Utah Jazz. Say what you will about Joe Johnson’s isolation tendencies and the Nets’ reliance on it over recent seasons, but Joe is still an effective offensive player who probably should have seen another shot attempt after making his last jumper with 7:37 left in the game.

Going off of the numbers this season, Hollins might have been wrong to expect much of an offensive boost from his dual-point guard lineup of Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack. Per, the Nets shoot less efficiently as a team with both Jack and Williams on the court compared to when one sits and the other is playing - 51% true shooting with both on, 54.4% with Deron on/Jarrett off, and 51.9% with Jack as the sole point guard. Both players also shoot worse when sharing the court than they do separately, and pretty significantly at that (see chart). The dual-point guard lineups

All numbers courtesy of

All numbers courtesy of

also affect Joe Johnson and his scoring and efficiency numbers, if not his time handling the basketball.

Perhaps, as John Schuhmann pointed out on Twitter during the game, the problems reside with Jarrett Jack and his amount of playing time, regardless of how many point guards are in the lineup. Looking at the NBAwowy numbers there’s no question that the Nets’ offense isn’t as effective under Jack’s stewardship as it is in Deron Williams’s minutes, and a clearer distinction between starter and bench minutes between the point guards wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

However, for a Nets team that has struggled with injuries to its starting point guard for much of the first half of the season, Jack’s expanded role has often been a necessity, especially given Hollins’s seeming aversion to playing Darius Morris or Jorge Gutierrez. But as Deron Williams becomes more comfortable on the court and with more time elapsed since his injuries earlier in the season (namely a rib cartilage tear and a calf strain), he should receive the bulk of the minutes, at least if the Nets hope to claim an Eastern Conference playoff spot. After tonight’s disappointing performance for the Nets’ offense, in an eminently winnable game against an (arguably, at this point) inferior opponent, Lionel Hollins should think twice about his Deron Williams/Jarrett Jack combination the next time the Nets need scoring.