Aaron Afflalo and Joe Johnson
It definitely wasn’t pretty, but the Nets found a way to hold on to defeat the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon to sweep the home-and-home from Orlando. In the first day game in Brooklyn since the 1950’s the Nets started hot, scoring 35 points in the first quarter. However, the rest of the game they did not score more than 20 points in a quarter and were outscored every quarter. The first quarter effort was good enough to win against a shorthanded and untalented Orlando team.
Kris Humphries was the player of the game for Brooklyn, with 14 points and 21 rebounds. Deron Williams also had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Glen Davis had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando. Aaron Afflalo had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
In the first quarter of this game, the Nets played as well as they have played the entire season. The ball movement was great, leading to easy layups or open jump shots. The defense was also very good, holding Orlando to 17 points. The last 3 quarters of the game were a snoozefest, as the Nets were held to 47 points over that time. Luckily, they played well enough in the first quarter to propel them to a victory.
In these two games, Orlando’s offense was awful, scoring a total of 142 points in the two games. The Nets held Orlando to under 20 points in the first 7 quarters of the home-and-home. Orlando scored 21 in the fourth quarter today to snap the streak. So is the Nets defense that much improved, or is Orlando’s offense just that bad. It is probably a little bit of both, but probably more that Orlando is bad. The Magic had their share of open looks today, but still only shot 36% from the field and 8% (yikes!) from 3-point range. At least Orlando was able to get to the free throw line today 18 times compared to only 8 times on Friday. Orlando is clearly not a playoff team this year.
Although the Nets didn’t play very well today, they got the win and are back above .500. They are still lacking consistency and have a lot of work to do. In the first 5 quarters of the home-and-home with Orlando, the Nets absolutely demolished the Magic, outscoring them by 57 points! However, Orlando did play better than the Nets over the last 3 quarters. The Nets need to play well over all 4 quarters if they want to be able to beat playoff teams.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Kris Humphries: A+
This is exactly why the Nets re-signed Kris Humphries. He collected 21 rebounds, a season high and 2 off of his career high, to go along with 14 points while shooting above 50% from the field. He also had a block in the last minute which secured the Nets victory. Excellent game from The Hump.
Brook Lopez: B-
Brook played one minute more than Kris Humphries and he had 18 fewer rebounds! Although he did score 20 points and was active on offense, he got outrebounded by the Magic bigs, along with Humphries. He also had 7 turnovers, which is way too many for a center. He was not effective on defense and allowed Nikola Vucevic too many easy looks.
Deron Williams: A-
Deron played pretty well today. He had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. He made three 3’s, too. When Orlando was coming back in the fourth quarter, Deron made an open dagger from the top of the key. He was not spectacular today, but he didn’t need to be to get this victory.
Joe Johnson: C-
When is Joe Johnson going to have a good game? He shot 3-13 from the field today and wasn’t great on defense either. I don’t know if JJ has a place on this team. Even though it’s only been 5 games, he hasn’t fit in to the offense at all and he often slows down the ball movement. I hope he finds a role with the Nets eventually. Maybe that role should be coming off the bench. It is still early in the season and the Nets will have to experiment some with Johnson.
Reggie Evans: B+
In 14 minutes, Reggie collected 7 rebounds. That is what the Nets ask and expect from him and that is why he plays. He never gives up on a rebound.
C.J. Watson: C+
Watson had one excellent series of plays where he hit a 3, stole the inbounds pass, and got an and-1 all within about 5 seconds. That was great. Other than that, though, Watson had a pretty bad game. Aside from those two field goal makes, Watson was 0-7 from the field. The good news is that he did not record a turnover.
The Nets are back over .500 and will look to improve to 4-2 on Tuesday when Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town. FRWD will have full coverage of that game. The Cavs are an intriguing, young team and I look forward to watching that game.