The Brooklyn Nets avoided a blowout loss tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks, but still lost 97-88 at home. This was the Nets’ 4th consecutive loss and 2nd consecutive home loss after losing to Golden State in Brooklyn on Friday. Gerald Wallace had 16 points and 16 rebounds and Deron Williams added 18 points and 8 assists for Brooklyn. Milwaukee’s backcourt was great in this game: Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 50 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists, and 8 steals. Even though the Nets have marketed their backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson as the best in the NBA, they were clearly outplayed tonight.
Until the 4th quarter, the Nets really looked lost tonight. After starting the game on an 11-2 run, the Nets were trailing by 7 heading into the second quarter. The second quarter was one of the worst quarters of the season and the Nets headed into halftime trailing by 17 points after scoring a season low 31 first half points. In the third quarter, the Bucks really blew the game open, taking a 29-point lead against the Nets in Brooklyn. Gerald Wallace led a comeback in the fourth quarter to get the Nets within 6 points, but their defense was just unable to get any stops down the stretch and Milwaukee had a relatively easy win.
It is hard to find positives from this game, but there is no question that the Nets finally woke up in the fourth quarter. Their offense looked much better than it has looked in the last couple of games and their defense was also a little bit better. The Nets are playing their cross-town rivals the Manhattan Knicks in their next game on Tuesday, so at least the fourth quarter tonight gives them a little bit of momentum heading into that game.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: B
This was Reggie Evans’s first start of the season for Brooklyn. Avery did this because he wanted to get Reggie more playing time with Andray Blatche, because they play well together. Reggie was ok, but not spectacular. He is more useful in short spurts so that he can use all of his energy. He had 5 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals tonight in 27 minutes. He was a big reason why the Nets jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the game. When Brook Lopez comes back, I expect Humphries to return to the starting lineup.
Andray Blatche: B-
This was Blatche’s worst game as a starter. Avery clearly wasn’t happy with his defense and therefore only played Blatche 21 minutes. He had 11 points and 6 rebounds in that time, not terrible but not good. The Nets need Blatche to come off the bench, not start.
Gerald Wallace: A+
Wallace made this game respectable for the Nets and was by far their best player tonight. Even when the Nets were down by 29 points in the third quarter, Wallace continued playing hard, diving on the floor for loose balls, and even diving into the crowd at one point. He also had a ferocious dunk in the fourth quarter to cap the Nets comeback. Unfortunately, they never got close than within 6 points. He also had a double-double with 16 points and a season high 16 rebounds. Wallace needs to play like this every night.
Joe Johnson: F
Has anybody seen Joe Johnson? Where did he go? Didn’t he score 32 points on Friday? Where was he tonight? Nowhere to be found. He did not have a field goal heading into the fourth quarter and finished with only 6 points on 2-8 shooting in 30 minutes. I am baffled to see that he played 30 minutes. I don’t even remember him being on the court at all tonight. He is so inconsistent and really needs to score more, especially when the Nets are struggling on offense like they were in the first half tonight.
Deron Williams: C+
Deron had a good fourth quarter, but was pretty awful in the first 3 quarters. He finished with 18 points and 8 assists, but only shot 1-7 from 3. His defense on Brandon Jennings was also very bad and Jennings had way too many easy looks and layups. Deron needs to put together a 48-minute effort, not a 12-minute one.
Kris Humphries: C
This was the first time that The Hump did not start this year and he did not play very well off the bench. He did have one big dunk in the fourth quarter off of a beautiful pass from Deron Williams, but was invisible other than that. He shot 2-8 from the field and contributed 7 rebounds. I expect him to start again once Brook Lopez returns.
Marshon Brooks: A-
Because of how terrible the Nets’ regulars were playing, Coach Avery was forced to play Marshon tonight, and Marshon actually played very well, at least on offense. He had 14 points on 4-5 from the field and 5-5 from the foul line in 21 minutes and was a great offensive spark in the second half. He brought the Nets back into the game and led the Nets in +/- with a +16. The second best player in that category was Kris Humphries with a +1. However, Marshon’s defense on Monta Ellis was beyond awful.
After tonight, the Nets will have tomorrow off and then face the Manhattan Knicks in Brooklyn on Tuesday. In the first Battle of the Boroughs, the Nets won in overtime, but the Knicks now have a big lead in the standings over the Nets. The Nets will hope to snap their 4-game losing streak against their biggest rivals.