The Nets lost to the Hawks 93-84 on Friday night despite 20 points from Deron Williams and 17 from Kris Humphries. It was the Nets’ 5th straight loss since not acquiring Dwight Howard, and they blew yet another fourth quarter lead after leading by 7 at the end of the third. This was a pretty boring game to watch overall, but there were a few exciting plays. Gerald Green had a huge dunk, a huge block, and 10 points. Deron Williams had his share of fancy-dribbling plays and also had a huge dunk attempt which turned into a charge. Josh Smith had a big time dunk for the Hawks.
Many times when the Nets play a good team, the game is over in the first quarter. This was not the case tonight. The game was close throughout, and the Nets even led for the majority of the game. I couldn’t count the number of lead changes there were in this game, but in the third quarter, Deron and the Nets seemed to be able to pull away a little bit. They ended the quarter on an 11-0 run and looked very good heading into the fourth quarter with a 69-62 lead. However, Avery Johnson decided to give Deron Williams a break at the beginning of the fourth, and this is when things started going horribly wrong. The Hawks started off this quarter on an 8-0 run and took a 1 point lead before the Nets called timeout and put Deron in the lineup. Deron kept the Nets close for most of the quarter, but the Nets could not rebound the basketball towards the end of the game, and this ended up killing them. In fact, the Nets rebounded pretty well in this game until the end of the fourth quarter. They outrebounded the Hawks 45-38.
This was the Nets’ fifth loss overall and fourth loss this season to the Hawks. This was one of the closer games they have played against the Hawks, though, and they really had a chance to win this one. They are a terrible team at closing out in the fourth quarter, and this was as prevalent in this game as it always is. A 7 point lead heading into the fourth is not small, and for the Nets to be outscored in the quarter 31-15 is unacceptable. Luckily, they are playing the Bobcats at home tomorrow night, and hopefully that should be a W. More good news is that the Raptors beat the Knicks tonight. This is good news for two reasons. First it gives the Raptors a 1 1/2 game lead over the Nets in the standings. Also, with the loss tonight, the Nets are only 2 games ahead of the Hornets for 3rd worst record and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Wizards for 2nd worst record in the NBA. Hopefully, they will catch one or both of these teams to move into the top 3 in the NBA draft lottery. The other reason this is good is because as a Nets fan, I hate the Knicks, and I love to see them get blown out by a terrible team like the Raptors. Why are the Raptors terrible, you ask? Because they are only one of five teams to lose to the Nets in Newark this year.
Player stats, grades, and notes:
Deron Williams: 20 points, 9/20 FG, 8 ast, 4 reb, 1 to, 39 min. Grade: B+
Deron played pretty well tonight. He definitely got mad at the refs a few times, but was able to control himself instead of get technicals. The biggest number above is his 1 turnover, and this came on a charge when he was going up for a dunk. The Nets should be able to win some games if he only has one turnover. He made some difficult shots tonight, and made some nice passes too. His 4 rebounds didn’t hurt either.
Marshon Brooks: 5 points, 2/4 FG, 4 reb, 18 min. Grade: C-
Marshon again had a very boring game and was not involved much in the offense. He didn’t seem to play much in the second half, in favor of Green or Morrow. Avery has lost his trust in Marshon, and hopefully his poor play will not carry over to next season.
Gerald Wallace: 8 points, 3/14 FG, 9 reb, 6 ast, 42 min. Grade: C+
When I first looked at Wallace’s game I saw how many shots he missed: 11. This is terrible, but he made up for it in his passing and rebounding. His defense was solid, and he led the Nets in minutes tonight.
Kris Humphries: 17 points, 6/12 FG, 8 reb, 36 min. Grade: C+
Offensively, The Hump had one of his better games with 17 points. He also did a nice job on the glass with 8 rebounds, though he did not get his Hump double-double. Defensively, his hands were full with Josh Smith. The Hump had a clear gameplan defensively on Smith: Give him any outside shot he wants, but nothing inside. Smith wanted a lot of outside shots, and was awful from anywhere outside the paint. Humphries did a nice job not chasing him out there, because he is not a good shooter. However, Hump’s defense in the paint was not good. Smith had 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists, and if he made half of the outside shots he took, he could have scored 40. I knew going into this game that Smith was much more athletic and quicker than Kris, and it really showed tonight.
Anthony Morrow: 11 points, 5/16 FG, 1/5 3 pt FG, 2 stl, 25 min. Grade: C-
Morrow seems to be getting more minutes than Marshon as of late, but he really didn’t play well tonight. He wasn’t making his open shots, and he needs to shoot better than 1/5 from 3. His D wasn’t terrible tonight, and he had 2 steals, but after he steals the ball, he is not a good dribbler and he is not quick enough to beat anybody down the floor. Also, he took way too many shots tonight. 16 shots in 25 minutes is too many for a bench player. I think he is playing too much and is becoming too big a part of the offense.
Jordan Williams: 8 points, 3/4 FG, 3 reb, 4 fouls, 15 min. Grade: B
J-Will actually did not have a bad game. When he was playing, he was able to compete and he had 2 impressive offensive-rebound-tip-ins. The only problem were his 4 fouls in 15 minutes, but he has barely played in the NBA and is still a rookie. I’m not saying that he will become a good NBA player, but he definitely had one of his better games tonight.
Jordan Farmar: 5 points, 1/2 FG, 1 ast, 2 to, 13 min. Grade: C
This was Farmar’s first game back since his injury, and Avery didn’t want to play him too much because of it. He made a 3 and his one assist was nice, but he didn’t do much else. Expect him to play more tomorrow night.
The Nets will now return home to play Charlotte, who they are 3-0 against this year. The Bobcats are the worst team in the NBA and if the Nets want to win any more the rest of the season, they should definitely win this game. I will be going and I hope to see many of you there.