The Brooklyn Nets played the Orlando Magic in the second game of their Florida swing last night trying to end a two game losing streak and gain some confidence along the way. The Nets were coming off a bad blowout loss to the defending champion Miami Heat by 30 points and did not look good at all.
They got more bad news in the morning walk through when they found out they would have to play without key reserve MarShon Brooks after he landed on a teammates foot in the morning walk through and sprained his left ankle.
With Brooks out now and Gerald Wallace also remaining out, coach Avery Johnson would have to look down the bench further for help with the second unit. The Nets second unit has been a positive this year with the energy and depth that the team hasn’t had in years.
One unlikely person who had yet to make his Brooklyn debut was Jerry Stackhouse, the 18 year veteran swingman and great locker room presence/player-coach, was active for this game due to the mornings news with Brooks injury.
Stackhouse’s number was called to start the second quarter and he responded like the veteran we watched for many years in the NBA over the last decade. He missed his first shot but followed that up with two big three pointers that changed momentum and gave the Nets some breathing room and much needed confidence. Stackhouse ended his night 4-for-9, going 3-for-6 from three-point range in 10 minutes and his 11 points matched his highest point total from a season ago with the Atlanta Hawks.
“That was big, man,” Joe Johnson said. “I thought that was the momentum-changer for us. He came in and gave us some great minutes, knocked down a lot of shots, basically opened up the floor for everybody.”
He is a savvy veteran that has been through the NBA wars and his North Carolina basketball intelligence is what is getting him through and not the highlight reels anymore.
“It just slows down for me,” Stackhouse said. “It seems like the game is slow motion. When you are at this stage, you understand the game and how it’s supposed to work, and it’s easy and it makes it look fun. I think it’s good for our young guys to see.”
Stackhouse’s role prior to the season seemed to be as a player/unofficial assistant coach to Johnson but when he was called upon last night on the court he made the most of his first Brooklyn experience.
“It’s whatever he wants from me,” Stackhouse said. “I told him that from Day One. If it is to be on the bench and keep our guys together, to be in this locker room or just getting out on the floor and competing. I would not be here if I didn’t feel like I could still compete.
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