Monday, March 11, 7:00 PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
37-26 (2nd Atlantic, 4th East)
23-39 (5th Atlantic, 10th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
THE ENEMY: D. WILLIAMS | J. JOHNSON | G. WALLACE | R. EVANS | B. LOPEZ
The Power of the Extra Point
When the newly relocated Nets' roster began to take shape last July with the acquisition of six-time All-Star Joe Johnson, many believed the team would rest its laurels upon their ability to outscore opponents. However, the fourth-seeded Nets have primarily done their damage on the defensive side of the ball this season.
Ranking fourth in the NBA in points allowed (94.1 PPG), Brooklyn has established that impressive defensive presence in an atypical way. The Nets actually allow their opponents to convert a healthy 46.1% of their shot attempts, tied with the Houston Rockets for 21st in the NBA. Amazingly, the Nets are the league's only top-five defense that is not at least top-10 in field-goal percentage allowed.
How do they do it, then? The answer is simple – they don't allow their opponents to score on extra-point attempts.
"Extra points" were first defined by ESPN TrueHoop writer Henry Abbott, who coined the phrase in order to describe shots that are more valuable than typical two-point field-goal attempts, in particular three-pointers and free throws.
The Nets allow the third-fewest three-point attempts (17.4) and the fewest free-throws (18.5) per game. The Sixers, for the sake of comparison, are respectable in both categories, sitting 12th (19.1) and 17th (22.2), respectively.
With offenses such as those of the Rockets and Spurs playing the percentages and gearing their game plans towards creating extra-point opportunities (with marked success), it is understandable, why defenses are beginning to play those same percentages on the other end of the floor.
Nets: Deron Williams
Since New Year's Day, Deron Williams is averaging 19.3 points (45.0 FG%, 45.9 3P%) and 7.4 assists per game. Over his last five games, the three-time All-Star's output has been even more impressive, as he's averaged 23.4 points (49.4 FG%, 50.0 3P%) and 5.4 assists.
In the first half of a Friday night win over the Washington Wizards, the eighth-year point guard hit an NBA record nine threes, finishing 11-of-16 from deep on the night. He scored 42 points in that game and followed that up with a 17-point performance in Atlanta the next night.
Sixers: Thaddeus Young
Through six games this month, forward Thaddeus Young is averaging 19.0 points (60.0 FG%), 8.8 rebounds, and 2.7 steals. He's scored at least 14 points in each of those games, after failing to do so in three straight games after returning from a hamstring injury. Over his last three games, Young has scored 67 points on 33-of-43 shooting (76.7%).
Nets: Kris Humphries
After posting career highs in points (13.8), rebounds (11.0), assists (1.5), steals (1.8), and blocks (1.2) last season, 27-year-old Kris Humphries appeared primed for another strong season in 2012-13. Amazingly, just eight months after signing a two-year, $24 million contract to remain with the Nets through 2015, the 6-8 forward has fallen completely out of Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo's rotation. Since losing his starting job in December, he's scored in double digits just twice and has only once notched double-digit rebounds. In the Nets' last three games, he's been on the receiving end of three DNP-CDs. On the year, he's averaging just 5.5 points (43.5 FG%) and 5.9 rebounds in 18 minutes a night.
Sixers: Jrue Holiday
Despite what has been a remarkable 2012-13 campaign for Holiday, the last five games have not been kind to him. Despite maintaining an impressive 9.8 assist to 3.4 turnover ratio over that stretch, he's scored just 12.0 points per game on 26.7% from the field during that span. He's also gone just 4-of-17 from beyond the arc. Friday against Miami (9 points) and Sunday against Orlando (8 points) were his first consecutive single-digit scoring outings of the season.