The Brooklyn Nets finally got the win against an elite team that they were looking for last night when they beat the Manhattan Knicks 96-89 in the Barclays Center. Here are some thoughts looking back at the game:
NEXT TIME THEY’LL HAVE KIDD: The Nets might have won, but it was a close game and Raymond Felton shot just 3-for-19 and only had five assists. If Jason Kidd was in the lineup, which he presumably will be when these two teams meet again next month, then the Knicks wouldn’t have been forced to use Felton for 42 minutes.
AMARE WILL COME BACK EVENTUALLY TOO: The Knicks will obviously have their chemistry question marks, but Carmelo Anthony was phenomenal leading that offense and showed a lot of guts playing 50 minutes. The problem for the Knicks was that he was tired after about 40 minutes and wasn’t effective down the stretch (He shot just 2-for-9 plus 4-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter and overtime). Eventually the Knicks will get Amare Stoudemire back and Melo won’t have to tire himself out like that.
NICE NIGHT BY LOPEZ: It’s really impressive watching Brook Lopez this season. He’s been taking on some tough centers in Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, and now Tyson Chandler and he’s come away looking good. He has 22.7 points per 36 minutes, is showing a bit of tenacity on defense, and is supplementing his rebounds with a good amount of blocks. Sometimes he makes an awkward play or two, but that makes me feel like there is room for even more improvement.
THE DEFENSE IS IMPROVING: The Nets are really starting to show better chemistry particularly defensively. With Gerald Wallace back in the lineup and Keith Bogans being used only in certain spots that require his defensive talents, the Nets have become a team that has the ability to shut a team down for a quarter or two. That has allowed them to win a few close games and maybe even win a few ugly ones they probably shouldn’t have. But good teams have to do that sometimes.
JJ STILL NOT FIRING: Every time it looks like Joe Johnson has turned the corner this season he takes another step back. He entered this game talking like a big shot calling out the Knicks, but he didn’t back it up on the court. He shot just 3-for-12 and the Nets needed to go to overtime because they couldn’t turn to him for a big shot in the fourth quarter like they needed to. This game was saved by Jerry Stackhouse, he’s not going to be able to do that all the time.
CJ IS A QUESTION MARK: C.J. Watson has been really good at times this year, but at other times he just looks bad. He was the only member of Bench Mob to have a negative rating (-1) and continued his poor shooting going 2-for-7. He’s not even getting his assists, averaging just 3.8 per 36 minutes. I don’t think he’s the answer, but Tyshawn Taylor could end up getting more playing time eventually if Watson doesn’t start shooting better and tightening up defensively.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE: The Nets showed a lot beating the Knicks, but they have to keep proving themselves. They can start by beating the Celtics with Rajon Rondo on Wednesday, but the real test comes on Saturday against the Heat. I think they showed with a tough loss against the Lakers and then wins against the Clippers and Knicks, but imagine the statement they could make by at least taking the next two out of three.