Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM
By Ben Couch
BROOKLYN—Saturday at Barclays Center, the Nets beat the Bobcats, 105-96. Deron Williams turned up the pressure single-handedly in the third, chipping in 12 points and scoring or assisting five straight Nets baskets as Brooklyn pulled away. In a balanced effort, five players reached double-digits, and Reggie Evans notably racked up a 20-point, 14-rebound double-double.
The offensive star of the first half was backup center Andray Blatche, who scored 12 points in just seven minutes before the break, finishing with 16 points (7-13 FGs) and 7 boards in 18 minutes.
A few observations:
- 11:13 – Another three for Ben Gordon, who's got 17 points off the bench.
- 9:41 – Turnaround fade for Andray Blatche, who clearly studied tape of Kevin Garnett at some point in his life.
- 8:58 – Blatche blocks Jannero Pargo's runner and hustles downcourt, where he's rewarded with a shot at the rim. Rolls off the rim, and the follow isn't good either, but when Blatche is playing two-way ball, the starting potential becomes evident.
- 8:08 – Fast-break dunk for Blatche. There it is.
- 7:06 – C.J. Watson races back to block Pargo's transition jumper, and has put together a nice little fourth quarter.
- 6:26 – On cue, pullup jumper for C.J.
- 3:53 – Nets catch a break, as the Bobcats can't convert despite two offensive rebounds. .
- 2:44 – A second straight three for Ben Gordon, who is doing Ben Gordon things (scoring in bunches). One-point game.
- 1:19 – Big offensive board by Reggie Evans, who keeps a possession alive and enables Deron to extend the lead with a quick turnaround push shot. For the record, that was Reggie's
- :48.7 – D-Will to the rim, earns free throws. Hits both. That guy has been clutch since the All-Star break, and upon review, NBA.com/Stats backs me up. Intriguing.
- :37.4 – "Hack-A-Reggie" initiated, fans pick up on it and start chanting. He hits both. Likely ballgame, right there.
- :00 – Yup.
- 11:45 – Fast-break layup for Kidd-Gilchrist to extend the 'Cats lead. Nets could take control with a strong response.
- 10:46 – 3-Will! Deron's got five straight Nets points.
- 10:18 – Eight: Driving layup. These runs Deron goes on are fun to watch.
- 9:29 – Deron to Reggie. Spreading the love.
- 9:09 – Deron to Brook, whose back cut results in an under-the-rim reverse dunk. Timeout: Charlotte.
- 7:51 – Joe Johnson ends Deron's streak at five, hitting an ISO jumper. Nets by seven.
- 6:48 – Another ISO ends with a bucket for Joe, who is feasting on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist right now. Welcome to the league, rook.
- 3:02 – Big block from Brook, who swats a one-handed Jeff Adrien dunk attempt. .
- 1:06 – A layup on the break for Deron Williams, who's up to 12 points and three assists in this quarter alone.
Before tonight's game, Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap singled out Brook Lopez as the Net player with whom he was most concerned: "Lopez is just a headache for everybody: one, because of his length and two, because of his improvement. This organization, meaning the Nets, deserves a lot of credit."
Though Lopez put up 13 points, turns out Dunlap should've included Lopez's backup in the assessment, as Andray Blatche came in at the end of the first and immediately started scoring. In just 7 first-half minutes, the 7-footer racked up impressive totals of 12 points on 5-of-shooting, also pulling down 5 rebounds.
And yet the Bobcats hung around by finding the holes in Brooklyn's defense, shooting .476 for the half (4-8 3Ps), led by Ben Gordon and Jannero Pargo off the bench. The backup duo has racked up a combined 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting (4-5 3Ps).
Defense will prove key in the second half if the Nets hope to create seaparation between themselves and Charlotte. The Bobcats are shooting just .336 from three-point range this season, so limiting them to lower-percentage outside shots will greatly reduce their offensive efficiency.
- 10:02 – Slippery baseline drive for Andray Blatche, who throws down an authoritative two-handed dunk.
- 8:52 – Recently guaranteed scoring guard Jannero Pargo checks in an hits a catch-and-shoot three while fading out of bounds. Of course he does. #shooterlife.
- 7:32 – Ben Gordon swishes a three, and somehow the Bobcats are hanging around despite Andray Blatche taking over the team lead in scoring with 12 points in just six minutes since Brook Lopez went to the bench.
- 4:01 – Another three for BG, and the Bobcats take a lead. Hm.
- 3:14 – Big dunk by Brook Lopez. Always fun when he puts extra mustard on post play.
- :00.5 – Tough final sequence there. A bad pass was picked off in the backcourt, and Gerald Henderson's layup gave Charlotte a lead heading into the half.
- 11:36 – Bobcats open with a full-run halfcourt play that results in an open jumper for Josh McRoberts. It misses, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (coming off a monster 18-point, 14-rebound double-double) kicks it to Kemba Walker in the corner for a triple. Nice possession for them.
- 8:37 – Brook Lopez converts his second bucket, this time off a give-and-go from Deron Williams, the latter pass a behind-the-back no-look. Nifty.
- 7:36 – Joe Johnson drives left, draws the double, and shuffle passes to Reggie Evans for a dunk.
- 6:52 – Catch-and-shoot three for Joe, who looks much more in the early flow tonight then he did on Thursday against Chicago, his first game back after missing five due to injury.
- 4:59 – Deep post position for Brook, who gets a trip to the line after corralling D-Will's entry pass. He's up to 7 in the early going.
- 2:03 – Nice high pick and roll for McRoberts and Kemba, which seems to be a frequent set for Charlotte. McRoberts slipped toward the basket for a layup; he has a good sense of spacing.
- 0:12 – MarShon gets after a loose ball, kicks ahead to Keith Bogans, who finds Andray Blatche underneath for a dunk. Momentum at the end of a quarter is always a good thing.
Brooklyn Nets (44-32)
|G · Deron Williams||G · Joe Johnson||F · Gerald Wallace||F · Reggie Evans||C · Brook Lopez|
Kris Humphries (sinus congestion) is OUT.
Charlotte Bobcats (18-58)
|G · Kemba Walker||G · Gerald Henderson||F · Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||F · Josh McRoberts||C · Bismack Biyombo|
Brendan Haywood (stress reaction, left foot) is OUT.
Ramon Sessions (MCL sprain, left knee) is OUT.
DeSagana Diop (right knee soreness) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Byron Mullens (left ankle soreness) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Jeffery Taylor (right plantar fascia strain) is DAY-TO-DAY.
For more, view the Game Photo Gallery
|32 PTS, 6 AST
11-18 FGs, 8-8 FTs
|"One of the few intelligent things I've said this season was that the only guy I wasn't worried about was Deron Williams. This league is so full of big-time point guards, when you have one of – if not the – best, it makes a huge difference."|