The Nets held on to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night, 122-117 in overtime, in a game where the Nets scored the most points of their season so far. Also, this marks the Nets’ first 3-game home winning streak of the season, which really means that they have been terrible at home to this point and are finally starting to play a little bit better. The Nets were led by their bench yet again in this game. The leading scorers were Anthony Morrow and Gerald Green, who always seem to have good games at the same time. Antawn Jamison had 34 points for Cleveland, and Tristan Thompson had 10 offensive rebounds, but it wasn’t enough. This was the Nets’ second straight win and they have won 5 of their last 7. Too bad this hot streak came at the absolute wrong time of the season.
In the first 3 quarters of this game, absolutely nothing interesting happened, so I am just going to skip to the fourth. This may have been the boringest overtime game I have ever witnessed. The Nets were leading for most of the game until the fourth, and they held a 5 point lead going into the quarter. For most of the quarter, however, the game was either tied or the Nets were leading by 2. Amazingly, in neither the fourth quarter nor overtime were the Cavs ever leading, but the game was always tied. What kept on happening was, the Nets made a shot to give them a 2 point lead and then the Cavs answered to tie the game. This must have happened at least 5 times in the fourth quarter. With about 30 seconds left in a tie game, Gerald Green appeared to hit a dagger 3 to give the Nets a victory. However, with 0.3 seconds remaining, Lester Hudson tied the game with a very lucky, fading away corner 3. Hudson somehow scored 26 off the bench. Blame it on the Nets’ defense. The game went to overtime where the Nets appeared to be pretty comfortable throughout. Gerald Green finished a nice alley-oop in the overtime session, as well as hitting 2 clutch free throws to seal the game. The Nets improved to 21-37 on the season, while the Cavs fell to 18-36.
This was another game that neither of these teams really wanted to win. Even though the Nets have played well recently, Cleveland is a team in the race for the #1 pick in the draft, and it does hurt the Nets that they lost this game. With this win, they have the 7th worst record in the NBA, but it is still a close race and they can easily still finish in 4th.
Player stats, grades, and notes:
Deron Williams: 18 points, 8-19 FG, 0-7 3 pt FG, 10 ast, 4 stl, 4 to, 39 min. Grade: B
This was another average game for Deron, which is above average for most players. He was pretty active defensively, leading to his 4 steals. The main concern from him was his 3-point shooting, but he would probably blame that on the Prudential Center. That is not a valid excuse at all. If he is not making his 3’s, he should know that he is being guarded by Donald Sloan and he should drive to the basket for layups. He did enough of this to have a solid game.
Marshon Brooks: 14 points, 6-11 FG, 7 reb, 2 ast, 4 to, 29 min. Grade: B-
Another above average performance for Marshon. He did most of his work in first half garbage time, but it’s better than what he was doing in previous games. His 7 rebounds helped, but his 4 turnovers are high. He does not always make good decisions on offense and he took some bad shots today.
Shelden Williams: 9 points, 2-4 FG, 5-6 FT, 10 reb, 6 off reb, 1 to, 34 min. Grade: C+
Shelden’s numbers are not bad at all, but he does not get a very good grade because he was completely unable to box out Tristan Thompson, who had 10 offensive rebounds and 15 boards overall. Obviously, this is a bad matchup for Shelden. Thompson is a young, athletic, energetic player while Shelden is old, slow, and can barely jump off the ground. I do not mean this in a bad way; I still love you Shelden. He did play better towards the end of the game and he came down with some big rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also made his free throws.
Kris Humphries: 16 points, 6-15 FG, 11 reb, 4 off reb, 3 ast, 1 blk, 1 to, 39 min. Grade: B-
Humphries’ defense in this game was not good at all. Antawn Jamison scored 34 points on The Hump, mainly because Kris didn’t want to go out and defend long 2’s or 3’s, which Jamison made 4 of. Statistically, Humphries had an average game: did enough offensively and was very active on the glass. He had his share of Hump Dunks and had a Hump Block.
Gerald Green: 32 points, 11-18 FG, 5-7 3 pt FG, 5-5 FT, 4 reb, 1 to, 38 min. Grade: A+
#GREENMACHINE! Gerald Green set his Nets season high and was one point off of his career high tonight, as he and Anthony Morrow carried the Nets offensively off the bench. His shooting from everywhere on the floor: inside, midrange, foul shots, and 3’s, was excellent. He did embarrassingly miss one dunk, but that is ok. When the Nets’ offense is dying, we can always turn to Green to pick it up. He is still so athletic and is quicker than almost anyone on the court. What a resurrection for Green this season!
Anthony Morrow: 24 points, 8-17 FG, 3-7 3 pt FG, 4 reb, 0 to, 29 min. Grade: A-
Morrow also had a very good game. He has impressed me recently with his midrange shooting, and he shot well enough from deep tonight as well. He missed one three that would have clinched a Nets W in regulation, but I can forgive him for this. When two players score a combined 56 points off the bench, they both had really good games and the starters did not. Morrow has been streaky this season. He has stretches of 4 or 5 games where he shoots extremely well and other stretches when he is not involved and shoots poorly. Right now he is in one of the good stretches and I hope he can keep it up and become a consistent player.
One note that you did not see above is that Gerald Wallace left the game in the 2nd quarter with a leg injury. The injury came on an amazing play when he followed up a miss with a thunderous dunk, but got injured as he landed. There hasn’t been any word yet on how long he will be out, but I have a feeling he will play in the next game. However, it was impressive that the Nets were still able to win this game without their leader in hustle plays.
After tonight, the Nets will have a day off tomorrow before returning to Newark to face the Sixers on Tuesday. They still have 3 matchups with Philadelphia remaining in this season, and Philly is clearly a playoff team but has not been playing well recently. We will see you on Tuesday in Newark.