In the first NBA game ever in Brooklyn, the Nets played their starters for the majority of the time and pulled away in the second half to get a victory over the Washington Wizards. They improved to 2-0 in the preseason, while Washington fell to 1-3. Every starter played at least 22 minutes in this game and Brooklyn’s Backcourt (Deron Williams and Joe Johnson) played a combined 69 minutes including significant minutes in the fourth quarter.
The fans made an impact in this game, which is not surprising because it was the first ever game in Brooklyn and many people were excited about it despite the fact that it was a preseason game against a bad team. The announced crowd was 14,219, which is not quite a sellout, although it is more than the Nets averaged in the regular season last year. The fans also got into the game at some moments. There was a lot of excitement in the first quarter because people were just happy to see basketball being played. Later on, in the second half, there were loud chants of “Brook-lyn”, “Let’s go Brooklyn”, and “De-fense”. In the last minute, a double-technical was called on Deron Williams and A.J. Price and this got the fans excited as well. Almost everybody stayed until the final buzzer and gave the Nets a standing ovation after the game. We are definitely not in New Jersey anymore.
The Nets starters played the majority of this game which is uncommon in the preseason. After the game Avery Johnson said that he left the starters in even in the fourth quarter because he really wanted to win the first ever game in Brooklyn. Expect much less playing time, if any playing time at all, from the starters tomorrow night in Boston.
Even though the Nets ended up winning this game pretty easily, I was not especially impressed with how they played. This was a very short-handed Washington team who was missing their best player, John Wall, and the Nets played their starters for most of the game. It should have been an easy win, but instead it was close throughout. The Nets were trailing for most of the first quarter, which is surprising because all their starters were in the game. However, this was still only the second game of the preseason and the Nets have plenty of time to work the kinks out.
To see a box score of the game, click here.
Player notes and grades:
Kris Humphries: B
Humphries had a few big Hump Dunks and 3 blocks, including one huge one on a fast break by Bradley Beal. He only put up 6 shots in this game and hit 4 of them, which is a very good sign. He should not be taking many shots in the Nets offense this year and he didn’t force any tonight. He only had 5 rebounds in this game, but luckily he had a quality big man playing alongside him finally who may have taken some of his rebounds away.
Brook Lopez: A
Lopez has looked great in his first two preseason games and is living up to the monster contract he received in the offseason. He netted a double-double tonight and was a force on offense. He got plenty of good looks and was able to knock most of them down. He was also going up against a solid defensive center in Emeka Okafor, which makes his performance look even better. I really hope that Brook does not get injured again because he will be able to do some special things this season.
Joe Johnson: B
This was my first chance to really get a close-up look at Joe Johnson’s game and I liked what I saw tonight. In the first half, JJ may have taken a few too many 3’s, but he found his game in the second half. Even though Iso-Joe plays have been criticized, he looked very good on a few offensive plays in the fourth quarter to put the game away for the Nets. He also showed a very good passing game tonight with 5 assists, including a few very pretty ones. I am excited to watch Joe on a consistent basis this season.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron again had a poor shooting night tonight, but he definitely got the job done. He almost got a double-double with 11 points and 9 assists and was really looking to pass the ball tonight. He passed up some open shots and, if anything, may have passed too much. Despite getting into an altercation with A.J. Price in the last minute of the game, Deron was smiling throughout the fourth quarter and is definitely happy to be a Brooklyn Net.
Mirza Teletovic: C-
I am starting to get a little bit concerned with Mirza Teletovic. In the first half, he rarely touched the ball despite getting a good amount of playing time. He did not even take a shot in the first half and I was worried that he lost his confidence from his first game in Atlantic City. In the fourth quarter Mirza finally knocked down a 3, but he still only shot 1-4 from long range tonight and barely grazed the rim on multiple occasions.
Andray Blatche: A
Blatche was aggressive and passionate tonight going up against the team that amnestied him in the offseason. He scored 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds off the bench and he made Washington rebounders look like little children at times. If Blatche can play like this every night, the Nets will have an excellent backup center this season.
C.J. Watson: A-
Watson is such an improvement on what the Nets have had at backup point guard the last few years: Jordan Farmar and Sundiata Gaines. He provided a defensive spark off the bench tonight and helped create multiple turnovers. He also showed that he has the ability to finish strong around the rim. If anything were to happen to Deron Williams this year, I would trust C.J. to be very serviceable in a starters role.
The next game for the Nets will be tomorrow night at 7:30 PM when they visit the Boston Celtics. The game will be broadcast on NBA TV and will be followed by the premiere of “The Association”, a show that will follow the Brooklyn Nets this season. We will have full coverage of the game and the show here at FRWD.