From the start their game plan was evident: get the ball inside and let Brook Lopez go to work. Lopez had another strong game with 27 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. Lopez is proving that he deserves to be in the conversation with the elite centers in the league. Paul Pierce totaled 11 points, four assists and five rebounds in 23 minutes. Deron Williams had 10 points and eight assist in 24 minutes. I am still waiting for Kevin Garnett (four points, four rebounds) and Joe Johnson (12 points, three rebounds) to contribute more into the offense. They improved from last game with 58 points in the paint against the Jazz after only netting 26 against the Magic.
The starters sat out the entire fourth quarter thanks to the large lead they were able to build. We finally got a chance to see what the second unit could do when given the chance to play major minutes. Shaun Livingston (11 points, three assist and three rebounds) continues to prove he was a great pickup this offseason. Andray Blatche (10 points, three rebounds) continued to impress with his scoring but still needs to work on his defense and rebounding. Jason Terry (zero points, two assists) didn’t have his usual game going, but others picked up his slack. The bench contributed 41 points, 19 rebounds and six assists which are great numbers for a second unit no matter the competition.
The Nets are sitting at 2-2 on the season, but there is still work that needs to be done. Rebounding seems to be a place where the most attention needs to be paid. The Nets were crushed by the Jazz on the glass 47-39. Garnett and Lopez must do a better job of boxing out and getting after the ball. The Nets shot 36 percent from beyond the arc and 62 percent on free throws. The three-point shots will fall; they have too many good shooters to continue missing wide open threes like this all season. The free-throw shooting is a different story. They have big men who love to play inside which will lead to drawing fouls and getting to the stripe. I don’t know if it’s a lack of concentration or just bad mechanics, but a title contender cannot afford to give away points. The Nets finally decided to lace up their sneaks and show off a little speed as they netted 25 fast break points after only getting three in their last game.
A victory is a victory no matter how and where you get it. The thrashing they put on the Jazz will hopefully build confidence and lead to a nice little winning streak. This is a team of veterans who know the season is a marathon and not a sprint. They proved to the Jazz that when backed against a wall they can perform in a dominating fashion. I just hope they play every game as determined and highly motivated as they did this one.