In their last game before the all-star break, the Brooklyn Nets struggled in Chicago, losing 92-76 to the Bulls. The Nets always seemed to be hanging around and in the game, but didn’t have enough energy to erase a bad first quarter. Paul Pierce led the Nets with 15 points. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah each had double-doubles for Chicago, and helped the Bulls outrebound the Nets 45-27.
Despite being the more talented team, the Nets looked like the inferior team in tonight’s game. This game was the second of a back-to-back for them and they looked a step slow from the beginning and never really recovered. This was also their second bad loss to Chicago this year. They were blown out on home to the Bulls on Christmas Day. And this comes after the Bulls knocked the Nets out of the playoffs in a game 7 in Brooklyn last May.
The Nets head to the all-star break just 3 games under .500 and in 7th place in the east. That’s not a bad place to be, but they do have a very long road trip coming up after the break. Hopefully they won’t lose any ground in the standings at the end of the road trip so that they can make a March run to finish with the 3 or 4 seed in the east.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: A
Garnett was the Nets’ best player tonight. In 22 minutes, he was a +6, which was easily best on the team. He was one of the few players who both rebounded and defended tonight. As the oldest player on the team, you wouldn’t expect Garnett to give the best effort on a back-to-back, but that was the case tonight.
Paul Pierce: B
Pierce had a couple of good plays, but was in foul trouble for most of the night. Still, he led the team in scoring with 15 points and did a nice job drawing fouls.
Deron Williams: F
Deron Williams is extremely frustrating to watch. Tonight he made bad play after bad play and he is the reason the Nets lost this game. He shot just 4-14 from the field tonight with 6 turnovers and only 5 assists. He was also 0-4 from 3. He doesn’t look healthy at all, and I hope that that is his problem rather than him just not being a very good basketball player. He is probably the biggest reason the Nets are under .500 at the all-star break.
Shaun Livingston: B-
Livingston had a good first half but was very quiet in the second half except for one nice dunk. Still, as the starting point guard on this team, he only had 1 turnover, which is very good for someone who played 25 minutes, especially when you compare him to Deron Williams.
Joe Johnson: D
Joe had a few buckets late in the game, but his shot was really off the entire night. He wasn’t even making his layups and shots in the paint that he usually makes easily. Like Deron Williams, he shot 4-14 from the field and didn’t hit a 3. He also got into a scuffle with Jimmy Butler in the third quarter.
Andray Blatche: D+
Blatche had a bad game tonight against a very good defensive team. He shot just 3-9 from the field and couldn’t get into any kind of a rhythm against the Bulls. He was also a team worst -22. Blatche could definitely use the all-star break coming up.
The Nets will now head their separate ways for the all-star break. Joe Johnson and Mason Plumlee will be heading to New Orleans. Hopefully the rest of the team will be able to get some much-needed rest. The Nets won’t play again until next Wednesday night in Utah. FRWD will have full coverage of that game.