Nets-Wizards Recap: A Low Point in the Season


In an embarrassing game, the Nets lost at home to the Washington Wizards by 19 points, 108-89, on Wednesday night. The game was highlighted by the third quarter ejections of both Deron Williams and coach Avery Johnson. Even before these ejections the Nets were not playing well, and after Deron and Avery left, the Nets got blown out by a team who had previously only had 4 road wins this year. Since this is my first recap of a Nets game, I will explain to you how I will do these recaps in the future. First I will talk about the “plot” of the game for those of you who may have missed it. Then, I will list the Nets players who made the biggest difference in the game, show their most important stats, and give them grades. Lastly, I will talk about the implications of the game and how the Nets can move forward from it.

This game was ugly from the beginning and little defense was played throughout. In the first quarter, the Wizards jumped out to a big lead and were up 33-25 after 1. Deron Williams scored 10 points in the first quarter. The second quarter featured a whole lot of garbage time. Sundiata got some major minutes here. It was pretty boring to watch and not too much happened. The Wizards committed a ton of fouls, giving the Nets plenty of opportunities to get points at the line, which they converted on. They trailed by 3 at the half. As boring as the first half was, the third quarter really got interesting. To this point in the game, the referees had blown a good amount of calls, and most of them favored the Wizards. The two biggest blown calls were 8-second violations, where the Wizards failed to get the ball past the half-court line in 8 seconds. These are very clear rules and there is no reason for the referees to get these calls wrong, but they did. In the third quarter, Deron got especially frustrated when he did not get a call when he was going up for a layup. He thought he was fouled, and so did everyone else in the Prudential Center. At the timeout, Deron went over to talk to the officials about the no-calls. He got one technical, but he wanted more. He wanted to be thrown out, and that is exactly what happened. He was disgusted by the officials, his team, and the franchise as a whole. He is very frustrated right now, and this frustration finally boiled over tonight. After Deron got tossed, Coach Avery wasn’t far behind. While Washington was shooting its technical foul shots, Avery began talking to the referees too and he got tossed. This was only the second time he had been thrown out of a game since taking over as Nets head coach last season. The fans obviously had angry reactions to this and were very much a part of this game from the third quarter on. Immediately after the ejections, some Nets, mainly Gerald Green, seemed to be on a mission to win this one for Deron and Avery. What at one point was a close game had ballooned into a 12-point lead for Washington, mainly because of the 4 technical foul shots. The Nets tried to make a run to get back into the game, but they were simply too untalented, and Washington was not going to let them steal a win without Deron. In the fourth quarter, the lead never seemed to get under 10 points, and by the 6 minute mark in the fourth, the game was completely over.

Now I will talk about the individual player stats, grades, and notes:

Deron Williams: 17 pts, 4 ast, 4 to, 25 min, 1 ejection. On the court grade: B. Off the court grade: F

Until Deron got ejected, he was actually having himself a pretty good game. He scored 10 in the first quarter and had 17 midway through the 3rd. You don’t like to see a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, but this has been a problem all season. I have been saying the whole season, if the Nets had a big man who could finish (Brook Lopez), Deron would easily average 10 assists per game. He is an excellent passer, but when he finds Shelden or Petro for an easy layup, often the best thing you can hope for is a foul, because they are not good finishers around the rim. Deron also led the Nets in scoring tonight, and seeing that he only played 2 1/2 quarters, this just means that none of the other Nets picked up the slack. The officials in this game did give the Nets a lot of bad calls, but Deron really seemed like he wanted to be ejected from this game, and when the game was over and reporters went to the locker room, Deron was nowhere to be found. This could mean that he didn’t even stay to watch the game in the locker room. He might have just left because he just doesn’t care about this team. This situation is very concerning for Nets fans who want Deron to resign with the team long term, and From Russia With Dunk will have plenty of more coverage on this story tomorrow.

Marshon Brooks: 2-9 FG, 8 pts, 1 ast, 1 reb, 2 stl, 23 min. Grade: D

Marshon has really slowed down since the beginning of the year, and did not play well tonight. After starting the game, Avery benched for most of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters until he returned in the 4th when the game was already out of reach. This is also when he scored most of his 8 points. He is not getting open shots, he is turning the ball over quite a bit, and he is not getting rebounds or assists. At one point this year, Marshon seemed like a lock to be in the future of the franchise. At this point, I am really not sure. I hope it’s just a rookie slump.

Shelden Williams: 2-3 FG, 4 pts, 10 reb, 33 min. Grade: B-

Shelden did what was asked of him tonight. He rebounded well enough, guarded Nene much better than anyone else on the team, and hustled for loose balls as he always does. He rarely makes a major impact on a game and did not determine the outcome at all tonight.

Gerald Wallace: 5-17 FG, 3-5 3 pt FG, 13 pts, 3 reb, 37 min. Grade: D+

After having a pretty impressive game where he scored 27 points and had 12 rebounds against Cleveland, he really had a letdown game tonight. Aside from his three 3’s, Gerald was pretty much invisible on offense. He was not able to draw fouls as well as he did against Cleveland and he was not rebounding either. Not one of Crash’s better games.

Kris Humphries: 5-11 FG, 13 pts, 16 reb, 35 min. Grade: B+

This is your classic Hump game. He did some damage scoring inside, but most of his production came on the glass. He got his double-double, and 16 rebounds is very good. He didn’t do a ton offensively, but this is not his strength. He played well enough individually to beat the Wizards tonight.

Anthony Morrow: 5-12 FG, 1-4 3 pt FG, 13 pts, 31 min. Grade: C-

Not a great game for Morrow. He missed many of his open looks, which is the reason he is in the NBA. The Nets need him to make shots, because he can’t do a whole lot else offensively, and is a liability defensively.

Sundiata Gaines: 3-6 FG, 8 pts, 3 ast, 2 reb, 3 stl, 1 to, 23 min. Grade: C+

Sundiata had a very interesting game. Coming into this game, he was in Coach Avery’s doghouse, but with Farmar still out with injury and Jerry Smith not playing well, Avery had no choice but to insert Sundiata back into the lineup. When he was playing in the backup role, he was hustling like crazy, going after every loose ball, and getting down and dirty on the court. This was refreshing to see, because most other Nets are not doing this. He was a big part of the Nets’ second quarter comeback to make it a close game. However, once Deron got ejected and Sundiata took on the role of starting point guard, things fell apart. He got tired and stopped trying as hard, made some sloppy passes, took some bad shots, and did not let the Nets get back into the game. He is a good third string point guard, behind Deron and Farmar, but he really is not even good enough to be a backup on an NBA team.

Johan Petro: 2 pts, 1 ast, 0 reb, 5 min. Grade F—-

Petro is simply awful. He came in in the first quarter, and after this quarter Avery had seen enough of him. His defense is terrible. He could not keep up with Nene, was not athletic enough to guard Seraphin, and could not even box out Chris Singleton. I’m going to guess that the Washington big men scored a total of 12 points on Petro in the 5 minutes that he was in the game. And you may ask, well he had two points, right? Yes he did, but it was off of a beautiful pass from Deron. Petro should have dunked it and got an and-1, but instead tried what I call a “French layup”. This is a term I only use for Petro, because he rarely dunks. Instead he tries to be cute and throw the ball off the glass. It almost never goes in, and for a 7-footer with no touch to not want to dunk is unacceptable. Petro got fouled on the play and somehow made both foul shots.

Coach Avery Johnson: 1 ejection. Grade: A+

Avery’s ejection was very important in this game. He needed to be ejected to show that he cared about Deron and that Deron wasn’t alone in complaining to the officials. Also, he needed to be ejected so that he could go to the locker room and talk to Deron. This was definitely one of the reasons he chose to get ejected. He didn’t want Deron to go back to the locker room himself and sulk in a corner. He wanted to comfort Deron and make it known, yet again, that the Nets want to keep him this offseason. He wants Deron to know that, even though this is a very difficult and frustrating season, things will be better in Brooklyn. Let’s hope Avery’s convincing worked.

Nets fans: Grade: A

Even though only 10,097 fans attended this game, which is low even for the Nets, the fans really got into this game in the third quarter and were booing profusely. It is refreshing to see Nets fans care about the team and show their emotions. The referees were awful in this game and deserved to be booed, and Nets fans really let them hear it. The team also deserved to be booed, but that’s another story. If only the arena could have been full instead of only half-empty (I would have said half-full, but I am in a very negative mood right now), the booing would have created an even bigger effect. Keep up the good work, Nets fans.

The question on every Nets fan’s mind right now is why Deron got so angry and got ejected. I really don’t want to talk about this now because I am very angry about it and want to cool down first before writing about it. Expect a post about it tomorrow. Instead I will talk about how this is really a low point in the Nets’ season, if not in the entire history of the New Jersey Nets. Since the Dwight Howard non-trade, things have gone downhill extremely quickly for the Nets. I will recap it for you.

1. The Nets don’t get Dwight.

2. The Nets instead trade for Gerald Wallace, likely losing their first round pick this year, which could be top 5.

3. The Nets get blown out in Orlando in the first game since the Howard non-trade and are basically mocked by Orlando fans and ownership.

4. The Nets come home for what should be an easy 3-game homestand against New Orleans, Cleveland, and Washington. New Orleans and Washington are bottom 3 teams in the NBA record-wise, and the Cavs are not going to be a playoff team this year. The Nets got Wallace to try to make the playoffs, but lose all three games, even with him in the lineup. This is as easy a schedule as you will get in the NBA and the Nets came up empty.

5. Deron Williams gets ejected and is clearly not happy with the franchise. The likelihood that he will leave in the offseason continues to get higher and higher as the season goes along.

6. Even though the Nets have been playing so bad lately, there are still three teams with worse records than they have, and it is unlikely that they will finish below any of those teams. They really will have to completely tank and hope that one of those teams gets hot in order to finish in the bottom 3, which is obviously very important because of the draft lottery implications. They really need to get a top 3 pick this year, but even this is looking unlikely right now.

7. The schedule will only get harder from now on, as the Nets will be in Atlanta on Friday. This year they are 0-3 against the Hawks and were blown out by as many as 36 points each game. There is virtually no chance they win that game. Also, the Nets will begin a west coast trip at the end of this month, and they never seem play well out west.

I usually try to end these game recaps on a positive note, but there’s not much to say today about the Nets. Instead, I will change the topic. Jay Z attended this game and sat courtside next to the Nets bench. In fourth quarter garbage time, I moved down and sat 2 rows behind him and yelled at him that he should suit up and enter the game. He probably laughed. Fans also chanted his name and he waved at them. I got a pretty good picture of him, which you can see below. We will see you again on Friday, when the Nets are in Atlanta.