The Brooklyn Nets played their final game of the preseason Wednesday night at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum, and came up short against their arch rival New York Knicks in overtime. After winning their first 3 preseason games, the Nets dropped the final 3 and finished the preseason with a 3-3 record. The Knicks also finished the preseason with a 3-3 record, and the teams will meet in the first game of the regular season next Thursday, November 1st, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Nets got off to a fast start in this game thanks to some awful first quarter defense by the Knicks. Deron Williams was able to take unlimited open 3′s and Joe Johnson killed the Knicks with his post-ups. Also of note in the first quarter was that Knicks center Tyson Chandler left the game in the first minute after banging knees with Gerald Wallace. He did not return to the game but the injury did not appear to be serious. As a Nets fan, I am not happy about this injury. Chandler is a very good defensive player and would have been a good test for Brook Lopez. Instead, the two centers will have their first battle in the regular season opener.
In the second quarter, the Knicks tightened up their defense led by the surprising play of 35-year-old rookie Pablo Prigioni. He led the Knicks with 11 assists off the bench, but he only scored 5 points. The Knicks built on their lead in the third quarter and in the first half of the fourth quarter, but, as we have already seen in the preseason this year, the Nets bench players fought back. Despite being down by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, the Nets took the lead late and the game ended up going to overtime, which neither team wants in the preseason. In the overtime session, the Knicks were led by two 3′s by sharpshooter Steve Novak and had a 4-point lead with the ball and about 40 seconds left. They turned the ball over twice and the Nets were within two when Marshon Brooks got a good look at a layup but missed. The Nets didn’t want to extend the game any longer and didn’t foul the Knick who rebounded the ball to lose the game.
By winning this game, the Knicks have earned the bragging rights in New York for a week. However, the Nets will have their shot at these bragging rights next Thursday when they open up the Barclays Center in the first ever regular season game in Brooklyn.
One other note from this game is that, ironically, the Nets played at Nassau Coliseum on the same day that the New York Islanders hockey team announced that they will be moving to Barclays Center in 2015. This is not surprising, because from what I saw of this game, Nassau Coliseum is not a very nice building and it doesn’t deserve a professional sports team. In fact, the Nets played in Long Island when this arena was first built in the ’70′s. Back then they were called the New York Nets. To honor these great championship teams led by Julius Erving, the Nets wore their ABA red, white, and blue throwbacks in this game. After all these years, they still look very nice.
To see a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Kris Humphries: B
The Hump got more playing time in this game that he has had previously in the preseason. Although he still only played 24 minutes, he was able to score 7 points and grab 7 rebounds. He was the most active big man for the Nets on offense and had a loud Hump Block on defense too. Kris is one of the most consistent players in the NBA and I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he does.
Brook Lopez: C-
After Tyson Chandler left this game early in the first quarter, I thought that Brook would take over this game and drop at least 20 points on the Knicks weak interior defense. Instead, Brook became invisible in the offense and only took 6 shots. Even more concerning, he only had 1 rebound, which is pretty shocking for a guy who’s 7 feet tall. He is still struggling with the pick and roll and still looks lost on defense. Luckily, we are in the preseason, but Brook has a lot of work to do before next Thursday.
Deron Williams: A-
Deron played very well in this game. In the first quarter, he was working the two-man game to perfection with Joe Johnson, which was great to see. He was able to get open for 3′s at will and was torching the Knicks defense. He also shot the ball pretty well tonight and scored a game high 22 points. Deron is definitely ready for the regular season to begin.
Joe Johnson: B-
It surprised me very much to see that Joe Johnson played 32 minutes in this game. After playing very well in the first quarter, he was pretty invisible the rest of the game. One note from JJ is that Avery Johnson experimented with Johnson playing with the Nets’ second unit tonight. Johnson was not looking to score while playing with these players, and instead let other players like C.J. Watson do this. I expect him to take charge of this unit more once the regular season begins.
Marshon Brooks: C+
Marshon led all players with 34 minutes in this game. However, he shot the ball very poorly at 2-10 from the field. He was able to get to the foul line, though, making all 7 of his free throws. I am concerned with Marshon right now. The offense seems to die whenever he touches the ball. He is not a good passer and needs to make decisions quicker. Unlike last year, he does not have complete freedom with this team anymore and cannot do whatever he wants. Brooks is not even looking like a player who will be getting a significant amount of minutes when the regular season starts.
Tyshawn Taylor: B+
Has any Nets player been more surprising in the preseason? Taylor came into the game midway through the fourth quarter and led the Nets comeback. He had 10 points and 2 assists in 13 minutes. The thing that impresses me most about Tyshawn is that he has no fear. Even though there are a lot of veterans on this Nets team, he is not afraid to shoot the ball and make plays. I don’t know how much playing time Taylor will get this season, but he definitely deserves more than people expect him to get.
The Nets now have 8 days off before their first regular season game at home against the Knicks. Expect lots of hard practice from Avery Johnson. The Nets have shown that they still need it and are not all clicking yet. I expect that a lot of the defensive mistakes that we have seen will be fixed on opening night.