Morrow Makes a Fumble Into a Field Goal
October 27, 2010
NEWARK, N.J.—The New Jersey Nets celebrated their first regular-season game at the Prudential Center with a come-from-behind 101-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Anthony Morrow drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Nets the lead for good at 97-95.
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Morrow Makes a Fumble Into a Field Goal
Isolated on the right wing, the Nets trailing by a point and 36 seconds remaining in the season opener, Devin Harris gave a juke, then another, and a third, but couldn’t shake Pistons guard Ben Gordon. And then he fumbled.
Last season, that would’ve been a turnover. In Gordon’s hands. Out of bounds. Anywhere except back toward the free-throw line. Harris lunged, crashing to the ground and flinging a push to guard Anthony Morrow, who scooped the pass with his toes behind the three-point line. The free-agent acquisition let fly, and the shot swished.
The Nets now led, 97-95 – their first advantage since the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Four possessions later, they were 101-98 winners.
“I had no doubt I was going to make it,” Morrow said. “I knew I wasn’t going to miss it. I knew Devin penetrating was going to draw attention. I slid up. I used to stand in the corner the last couple of years. Now, with Devin, I’m going to train myself to come up because that’s what he wants me to do. It worked out perfectly.”
Admitted Harris: “It wasn’t what I wanted – I did not want to lose that ball, (but) I fumbled it. He swung over at the right time and I hit him right there and he knocked down a big shot for us.”
Morrow’s three proved the culmination of a minute-long nine-point run, one that flipped a seven-point deficit into a two-point lead and earned a well-deserved roar from the Prudential Center crowd. With 1 minute, 40 seconds to play, after an offensive rebound, Richard Hamilton hit a corner three that left the Pistons ahead, 95-88.
The Nets called timeout, and coach Avery Johnson drew up an inbounds play for backup point guard Jordan Farmar – shooting 1-of-6 at the time – who hit a three-pointer while allowing only eight seconds to elapse. He followed by stripping Gordon on the ensuing possession, passing ahead to Harris, who pulled up to run a screen and roll with center Brook Lopez.
Harris exploded off the screen, but pulled up for a jumper, nailing the shot as he was fouled. He calmly sank the free throw, setting up a defensive stop (Rodney Stuckey missed a turnaround jumper) and Morrow’s go-ahead three. Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva shot three straight three-pointers, but hit only one as Farmar (10 points, 4 assists) and Harris distanced the Nets with two free throws each. A pair of misses by swingman Terrence Williams left the door open for a final attempt to tie, but with only 1.6 seconds left Stuckey missed a contested three.
“(The win) was big, especially coming off the tough season,” Farmar said. “Everybody had that taste in their mouth after last year, and has been excited to see what we had to offer. I think it was good for things not to go our way and (that) we had to fight and scrap to win. That was the best part of the whole night.”
A First Game for Favors
Forward Derrick Favors’ first point as an NBA player came not with thunder, but the soft rains of a free throw drizzling into the net. The second and third, scored on a hustle play, putting back a Brook Lopez miss. The fourth, another free throw.
Favors saved the storm for the second quarter, throwing down his first dunk one-handed, off a drive-and-dish feed from Jordan Farmar. A few plays later, he caught an alley-oop from Terrence Williams, the two dunks cashed in versions of potentially spectacular ones he would just miss during the preseason.
“I was happy for him,” said Nets coach Avery Johnson. “It was funny, because the lob play – we tried to run it (during the two preseason games) in China, and he would always go the wrong way. He got it tonight, and I was happy for him.”
Finishing the game with a near-double-double (eight points, 10 rebounds) in just 20 minutes, Favors seemed more comfortable with the speed and pacing of the NBA game than he had throughout the exhibition schedule. Johnson said Favors seemed to be a kid in a candy store during pregame introductions, but was pleased with the 19-year-old’s performance, even though small lineups limited Favors to only 6 ½ minutes after halftime.
Favors stayed out of the foul trouble that plagued him for much of the preason, and initiated several plays with defensive rebounds in traffic. Johnson wants the rookie to stay level-headed, even as friends and family congratulate him on the solid performance, half-joking that to keep Favors working hard, he’d challenge the forward to block some shots next time. (Favors failed to do so Wednesday.)
Earlier today, at the team’s morning shootaround, Johnson and point guard Devin Harris praised Favors’ basketball IQ, with Johnson acknowledging Favors often is in – or attempting to get in – correct position on defense. Harris concurred, believing that to be the case on offense as well.
“You’ve got to remember, he’s only 19, so the game moves a little fast for him,” Harris said. “You can see that he has the intentions of doing things the right way. Once it slows down for him, he’s going to be a great, great player.”
Third-Quarter Two-Man Game
A strong third-quarter performance allowed the Nets to rebound from a 9-2 Pistons run at the end of the first half. The Nets shot 15-for-23 in the quarter, scoring 31 points and taking a three-point lead into the fourth. Center Brook Lopez led the charge, rebounding from a poor first half (8 points, 3 rebounds, 3-9 FGs) with a 7-for-8, 14-point showing. He finished with a team-high 25 points, adding nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
On the first play of the half, following an Anthony Morrow technical free throw, Lopez took a feed in stride from Devin Harris, banking in a short runner. It proved an important play for each – Harris had played only 10 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, whistled for the third time shortly after re-entering the game in the second. The duo scored the Nets’ first nine field goals in the quarter, with Harris eventually racking up nine points (4-6 FGs), two rebounds and four assists on the way to a final line of 22 points, four rebounds and nine assists.
“I think it was just my aggressiveness,” Lopez said. “Avery really got on me at halftime; I missed a few chip shots, and he got on me for putting my head down. It led to transition buckets for them – I can’t let that get to me. That was something that happened last year. I’ve just got to shake it off and go on to the next play.”
Harris offered a similar assessment: “I had to be more aggressive but reading the defense. The mid-range jump shot was there in the first half, but I didn’t really take it. I tried to take it to the rim, got a couple of turnovers, charges and things of that sort. Once you hit the mid-range (shot), it opens up the rest of the game for a lot of different guys and we’re able to attack from there. It’s reading the defense, being smart about my aggressiveness and knowing what play to make.”
NETS NOTES Team owner Mikhail Prokhorov was onhand, leading media in a pregame toast to the Nets' success, and later taking in the game from a midcourt suite. He'll attend the team's first three games, returning to Russia following Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Heat (Buy Tickets)…Terrence Williams earned plaudits from Avery Johnson for playing strong defense on Ben Gordon. Though he missed two free throws that would’ve iced the game, Williams finished with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and – most importantly – a win in 32 minutes. “My whole thing I see at the end of the day is me missing those free throws. But that’s me being selfish as a basketball player. As a team player, I’m happy we’re 1-0 – I definitely didn’t say that last year.”…Rookie forward Damion James entered the game in the third quarter, and hit the first shot of his NBA career – a 15-foot turnaround fadeaway…Kris Humphries started the second half at power forward and finished with four points and six rebounds.