The Nets beat the Charlotte Bobcats in Newark Saturday night 102-89, snapping their 5 game losing streak and improving to 4-0 against the Bobcats this year. This was as much of a blowout as the Nets are going to ever have this year, and they proved to be a less-terrible team than the Bobcats yet again. They were led by Shelden Williams, who had a huge first quarter, and Kris Humphries. D-Will also had a nice game. It was a balanced effort, as all five starters scored in double-digits. Most of Charlotte’s scoring came from their bench. Only one of their starters scored in double-digits. Byron Mullens had a nice game for the Bobcats with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Nets fans had a good feeling about this one from the first quarter, and that is something that I can rarely say, especially at home. The star of the opening quarter was Shelden Williams, who had 4 points and 9 rebounds in the frame! Way to go Shelden! He even led two fast breaks, which somehow resulted in points. I was shocked. Deron also had 7 assists in the quarter. The second quarter was pretty boring, and once the Nets starters went out, all offense died. At halftime, the Nets were leading 48-42. The third quarter was one of the best I have seen this year from the Nets. They outscored Charlotte 33-16 and took a commanding lead in the game. Deron did most of his scoring in this quarter, and The Hump and Crash chipped in as well. By the fourth quarter, it was all Nets-Bobcats garbage time. In this quarter, the Bobcats actually made a little bit of a run cutting the Nets lead to 11 with 5 minutes left. This scared me a little bit, but the Nets left their starters in until it was a sure victory. This was a smart move by Coach Avery. My favorite play of the game came in this garbage time. Kris Humphries missed a dunk where he pretty much got rejected by the rim. This led to a 3-on-1 fast break for Charlotte with only Gerald Green back. Somehow, the Bobcats didn’t even get a shot off and turned the ball over. This play is the definition of what you would expect from a Nets-Bobcats game.
The bad news that comes from tonight is news that the Nets really couldn’t control. It is in the draft lottery department. The three teams behind the Nets in the standings all lost tonight and the Nets won, which means that they have another game to make up if they want to “catch” these teams. The Hornets and Wizards both blew big leads to playoff teams and lost, and the Bobcats obviously lost because they played the Nets. Even teams that were barely ahead of the Nets lost, like the Pistons and Raptors. I am still happy that the Nets won because they really needed this win if they want to have any shot at keeping Deron, but in the long-term, Nets victories are not good.
Player stats, grades, and notes:
Deron Williams: 19 points, 7-18 FG, 14 ast, 3 to, 35 min. Grade: A-
Deron did a very good job of leading the offense tonight, and the 3 turnovers in 35 minutes is very good. His goal was to distribute the ball tonight and not score, because the Bobcats were trying to double team him all night after his 57 point outburst against them earlier this year. His passes were accurate, and he played good defense on D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker, who combined to shoot 7-20.
Marshon Brooks: 11 points, 5-6 FT, 3 reb, 4 to, 32 min. Grade: C+
Marshon played better and was more aggressive tonight than he had been in previous games. He wanted to attack the rim and he looked for his shot more tonight, even if it wasn’t going in. I applaud Avery for giving Marshon a bump-up in minutes tonight. He needs these minutes to improve, and he definitely has a lot of improvements still to make.
Shelden Williams: 10 points, 5-8 FG, 11 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 1 block, 25 min. Grade: A+
This was as complete a game I have seen from Shelden. He only played 25 minutes, but he really filled the stat sheet. Most of his damage was done in the first quarter, where he gave the Nets the lead for good. I loved him leading the fast breaks and these were very funny to watch. He was a beast on the glass and completely dominated Bismack Biyombo in the first quarter, even getting 3 steals. Great game from Shelden.
Kris Humphries: 20 points, 9-16 FG, 16 reb, 8 off reb, 2 ast, 1 blk, 37 min. Grade: A-
Very nice game from Humphries. He got his Hump double-double easily, and had a very nice offensive game. He completely dominated Tyrus Thomas, who only had 4 points and 2 rebounds. That matchup just wasn’t fair. He finished well around the rim, made some excellent passes, played good defense, and boxed out. Actually, I’m changing his grade to A. I can’t think of anything he did wrong except miss one dunk.
Gerald Wallace: 15 points, 5-13 FG, 7 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 25 min. Grade: B-
The reason I don’t give Crash a higher grade is because I don’t really like his shot selection. He takes too many outside shots, which he isn’t terrible at, but if he would drive instead when he has his defenders leaning, he will at least get 2 foul shots, and maybe the bucket too. He is not using his entire offensive game, and is sometimes settling for bad shots. He did play well tonight, and I am surprised he only had 7 rebounds; it seemed like he got more. His defense was good as well.
Jordan Williams: 8 points, 4-7 FG, 4 reb, 20 min. Grade: B-
Avery seems to be using J-Will more and more in the garbage time of the season, probably to see if he is capable of being an NBA player. He played like one tonight, but I don’t know if it counts because it came against the Bobcats. He did a nice job on the glass and was able to finish around the rim. I don’t know if he would be able to keep this up against a good team, but he was pretty good tonight.
Next up for the Nets will be two more home games against Utah and Indiana, followed by a 4-game west coast trip. The Nets could very easily lose all 6 of those games, but I am glad they didn’t lose tonight at home against the Bobcats, because it just doesn’t get worse than that.