Nets win 97-96: It would have been nice to win, but oh well.

First off: it’s not as bad as it looks. We had a fairly substantial lead before the third stringers blew it. A loss is a loss and it would have been good to win, but we need to put things in perspective:

  • We were winning before all the starters/second unit guys were pulled.
  • KG and Pierce were playing limited minutes. We would have gotten an easy win had they continued to play and finish the game. On a back-to-back however, rest is more important.
  • Similarly (on a bigger scale): Brooklyn rested their starters: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. This game is no true indication of how we would have fared against the real team yet, no sense fighting so hard against a second unit in an inconsequential game.

Game highlights

Pierce on a scoring streak


(via Y! Sports)

The captain had 20 by half-time and scored 29 in total on an array of moves: Three-pointers, drives, transition finishes, pullup shots. He was out to show the Garden he was back, and it was really good to see him all over the place, rather than lofting bombs behind the line on every play. If he hadn’t been scoring at will, things would have looked decidedly uglier at half-time.

He also did this behind the back pass that landed neatly in Sully’s hands for the mid-range, reminds me of Rondo and KG’s usual play.

Transition breakers
Good energy was felt tonight, with a Jeff Green. Courtney Lee and even Pierce running the break. Tommy was commenting about how it was good to see Pierce running, that he and Ray had gotten lazy trailing Rondo in the break for the 3. (No comments.)

Green was exceptional tonight, going hard to the bucket on his drives. He took a hard spill on one drive, but appeared unhurt. It’s going to be good having people taking the ball hard inside, I just want him to be in one piece when the postseason arrives.

Lee was running like a maniac, I really like his energy. He had a few open 3s at the baseline but failed to convert them. He’ll get there, getting to the right spot is a good start.

KG’s undeniable defensive impact
Kevin Garnett was just crazy on defense tonight, looking like his past Timberwolf self. getting three nasty blocks off. Not those run-of-the-mill

Bass continues to shine
By far the most consistent player in the preseason, Bass showed up for work on this game. He hit his mid-range jumpers, finished inside and showed some new moves, using his dribble to back down and get inside.

If he continues to perform like this, I’m quite sure he will be getting more isolation touches.

Big man abuse
Sully and Bass were taking turns to be abused by Blatche in the paint. Not pretty, but they are just going to have to learn how to play the 5 in situations like this.

Quoting Tommy again, who said they needed to stay wide and lower their body to challenge the guy to shoot over them, rather than staying up tall and straight to give the attacker a chance to dribble and finish.

Poor scrub showing
Without Jamar Smith and Christmas, the scrubs are looking really bad on both ends. There is an obvious lack of ball-handling, and offense was haphazard. Assistant coach apparently had wanted to put Courtney Lee in, but decided to go with the scrubs due to Lee cramping up (via ESPN Boston). Kudos to them for showing up and playing hard nonetheless, even though they scored like crap and blew the lead.

There was a nice little play drawn up by Rondo for the scrubs, who executed with Courtney Lee throwing the inbound lob to Micah Downs for the finish. The guy got hit and failed to finish with no whistle.

In case you were wondering how it was supposed to look like:

Fab Melo is definitely not ready for game minutes right now, his awareness on defensive rotations needs to be better. There was one possession where he showed up in the paint, decided to step off in another direction and what do you know? Attacker saw the opening and drove right in to the basket. Ouch.

Rondo on ice?
Rondo’s right hand was iced up when he was on the bench, hopefully it’s nothing to worry about.


I’m glad we got through everything without more injuries coming up at this stage, so let’s sit tight and wait for the next game tomorrow. It’s the Nets again but at their home court this time, the Barclays Center.

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