The Nets Snap Four-Game Home Slide, but Deron’s Back Hurts
Reggie Evans put it best when he said Deron Williams was “hot like fish grease.” The Nets’ star point guard jogged the memory of a sellout crowd Friday night, reminding Brooklyn of the elite scorer he was with the Utah Jazz. Williams carried the team on his back, connecting on nine first-half three pointers, an NBA record for most in a half. He finished with 11, and a season-high 42 points on the game, as the Nets took down the Wizards 95-78.
“I just got hot, you know, it’s just one of those games where you come out and hit a couple of shots and you start feeling good and you just keep doing it,” Williams said.
Williams and Evans were the lone bright spots for Brooklyn, as Evans pulled down a career-high 24 rebounds. Outside of the two, the Nets shot just 27% from the field. That’s not very good.
Joe Johnson, who’s filled in for Deron Williams as "injured star", had just six points on three-of-10 shooting. Gerald Wallace struggled through 21 minutes with just two points to show for, and didn’t sink a shot in five attempts. Keith Bogans also had a strange role in the contest, playing 23 minutes and taking just four shots. Without this performance from D-Will, the Nets would have been lost. If you would have told me Deron Williams would be relied upon this heavily in the offense a month ago, I would have labeled you insane.
The eight injections Williams received for his ankles are clearly helping him. It’s unhealthy, though, for the weight of the team to rest on his shoulders, as he’s looked pretty bad in stretches this season. Regardless of his injury status in those games, he can go cold from the field just like anyone else.
What needs to improve? Other than the obvious answer, shooting, the team isn’t recognizing where the open man is at all times. Keith Bogans is inserted into a game simply for his three-point shooting, yet players will pass him up for a drive inside. That’s not bad all the time, but Bogans should be shooting a bit more when he's in.
Gerald Wallace’s struggles are another aspect of this team rarely talked about, as his indecisiveness from the field is a concern. He’ll become far too predictable at times when he constantly gets the ball behind the arc, pump fakes, and drives inside. Defenders have stopped biting, and it’s becoming harder for him to get in the paint and score. He should take a few more jump-shots to keep defenses honest. He can hit the outside jumper.
Brook Lopez also had a rough night in the post, which is the main reason D-Will's supporting cast looked so lackluster. He’s proven his strength down there, so his performance is not a major concern.
Outside of all the unspectacular lines in Brooklyn’s box score, the team got a much-needed home win, and will try and carry this momentum into Atlanta, a potential playoff opponent, Saturday night. Just one and a half games separate the fourth-seeded Nets and the seven-seed Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings.