In their first game ever wearing Brooklyn jerseys, the Nets went back to New Jersey (Atlantic City, to be exact) and defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime Saturday night, 108-105. It was a good start to a new era in Brooklyn Nets basketball.
Although there were many issues shown in this game, there were more positives than negatives for the Nets. The five starters, along with C.J. Watson and Andray Blatche, all played very well. The rest of the team, however, did not. I will talk about some individual player performances.
Gerald Wallace: Crash played a good, scrappy game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, along with 2 steals and 2 blocks. He went after loose balls and helped in the balanced attack on offense. Hopefully Wallace will be able to average numbers close to those this season.
Brook Lopez: In Brook’s first game back, he was impressive, and looked anything but soft, although he did not have the opportunity to go up against Sixers center Andrew Bynum, who did not play in the game. He led the Nets in scoring with 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds too. His foot injuries are clearly behind him and he looked close to 100%. He also blocked 3 shots, which shows that he was a defensive presence as well. Lopez looked much better in this game than I thought he would and he showed very few signs of rust.
Deron Williams: D-Will wasn’t spectacular in this game, but he got the job done in limited minutes. He did not shoot especially well, but led the Nets with 6 assists while only turning the ball over once. He was in control of the offense throughout the game and was very under control. He did not show any signs of frustration, whereas last season he appeared to be very frustrated on the court most nights.
Joe Johnson: JJ clearly took a backseat role tonight, which is probably a refreshing change for him after having to lead his team in scoring every night in Atlanta. He only took 9 shots and 6 of them were 3’s. We should expect to see a lot of 3-point attempts from Johnson this season. He will get a lot of open shots with all the offensive firepower the Nets have on this team and Johnson’s shooting will be a big plus.
C.J. Watson: I can’t believe this guy received the veterans minimum in the offseason. He led the Nets in scoring with 19 points on 7-11 shooting and was one of the only effective bench players for the Nets (although they were without Marshon Brooks). Even though he led the team in minutes played, C.J. did not turn the ball over once, which is very impressive. This was a very good opening game for Watson.
Andray Blatche: Project 0 got off to a pretty good start in Atlantic City. Blatche recorded 12 points and 5 rebounds off the bench and looked like a serviceable backup center. However, turning the ball over and fouls were an issue for Andray.
Mirza Teletovic: Teletovic really struggled in his first NBA game, but this is what the preseason is for. He shot 2-13 from the field and 2-11 from 3 despite getting plenty of open looks. Luckily, this guy is 26 years old and a veteran in Europe, so he should be able to put this game behind him quickly. From all signs in practice, Mirza is a great shooter and he just had an off night.
The first Brooklyn Nets preseason game was not televised, and you were not able to watch it unless you were there. The first televised game and first basketball game ever at the Barclays Center will be tomorrow when the Nets host the Washington Wizards in Brooklyn. Expect full coverage of that game from all of us here at FRWD.