Andray Blatche and Spencer Hawes
Today, the Brooklyn Nets got off to another good start at home and held off the Philadelphia 76ers 95-92 at Barclays Center. This was another ugly victory for this team, but after only winning 2 of their previous 10 games, they will take wins any way they can get them. Joe Johnson led the way for Brooklyn again with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Jrue Holiday had 24 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds and Thaddeus Young had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia.
The Nets were trailing early on in this game but used a humungous 18-0 run to take a commanding lead in the first quarter. Brooklyn had trouble closing out the second quarter and only held a 2-point lead heading into halftime. The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle, but Joe Johnson capped the quarter with a couple of very long 3’s to give the Nets a 5-point lead heading into the final frame. In the 4th, the Sixers took the lead briefly, but the Nets had a comfortable 7-point lead in the final minute. Missed foul shots allowed Philadelphia to get back into the game, but they eventually ran out of time to comeback.
The Nets did not play very well today and are lucky to escape with a win. Hopefully this victory can get the team on a win streak and away from their losing ways of late.
Player grades and notes:
Gerald Wallace: A-
Wallace had another good hustle game tonight and led the team in both rebounds and assists. He also finally shot well from the foul line tonight, 7-8. He didn’t do a great job guarding Thaddeus Young, but we knew coming in that that would be a tough matchup for him after he shifted over to play the 4. Wallace brings so much to this team.
Brook Lopez: C+
Going against Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes, Lopez should have had more than 14 points and 7 rebounds. He shot very poorly from the field at 5-14 and was arguably outplayed by Allen, which should never happen. Brook has arguably been the most important Net this season, but sometimes he has bad games like he did today. He needs to get more consistent.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron had two huge buckets down the stretch, one 3 and one 2, but other than that he didn’t do very much. He did a good job of going to the foul line today, where he went 5-7. He needs to do that more often. He only had 5 assists today which is well below his season average. He was also outplayed by Jrue Holiday.
Joe Johnson: B+
Joe Johnson is definitely out of his slump. His biggest highlight today came at the end of the third quarter where he made back-to-back very long 3’s, including one with a second remaining in the quarter. He led the team in scoring and is definitely out of his early season slump. He did however miss some key foul shots down the stretch which could have cost the Nets and it prevented them from putting the game away.
Keith Bogans: A
Keith Bogans continued to shoot hot tonight. He was 5-6 from the field and 3-4 from 3. He is the new Jerry Stackhouse. He moved into the starting lineup in order to matchup Gerald Wallace on Thaddeus Young, which meant that Bogans had to guard Evan Turner. Bogans may have outplayed the much younger and more athletic Turner and even made big shots in the fourth quarter. He has had a very weird season.
Andray Blatche: A-
There is no other NBA center who can do the things that Blatche can do. Today he played the occasional point center and led 2 fast breaks which resulted in baskets. He is also the king of the spin move. I don’t know how he continues doing the things that he does. He played exactly like you would expect Andray Blatche to play like today.
Jerry Stackhouse: ???
What happened to Jerry Stackhouse? He is finally starting to miss 3’s, and was 0-5 from deep today. Normally, that would result in a bad grade from him, but he also had a dunk. I did not think that he was capable of dunking still so I kind of want to give him an A, but in order to get an A he would need to make at least one 3. Instead he gets a bunch of question marks.
The Nets can breathe a sigh of relief after picking up this much needed win. They will return to the Barclays Center on Christmas Day this Tuesday to face the Boston Celtics at 12 noon on ESPN. This will be another big game for Brooklyn and another chance to improve on their 6-2 record vs. the Atlantic Division.