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Monday night NBA grades: A tale of two Brooklyn halves

Nov 19, 2013, 1:37 AM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

Our grades for what happened around the NBA Sunday, or what you missed while watching Jean-Claude Van Damme do the splits between two moving trucks

source:  Brooklyn Nets first quarter offense. With all that talent on the roster we expected some big nights from Brooklyn and it looked like we would finally get one (even if they didn’t have Deron Williams or Brook Lopez, both out injured). There was ball movement, player movement and screens. Kevin Garnett jumped in the hot tub time machine and played like his Minnesota days, just scoring from all over the court on LaMarcus Aldridge — KG had 12 of the first 14 Brooklyn points on 6-of-6 shooting. Shaun Livingston used his height advantage to score 10 over Damian Lillard (and drive past him once for an impressive dunk). Brooklyn attacked and got to the line 11 times. The Nets put up 40 points and shot 73.7 percent in the quarter. They looked like a force of nature.

source:   Brooklyn Nets second half offense. And this is why they are now 3-7 — the Nets devolved quickly into what has made their offense so easy to defend of late. Brooklyn went into isolation basketball that was stagnant — nobody would set screens, nobody moved off the ball, it was just iso basketball. You can defend that, and the Trail Blazers did. The Nets scored 35 points (less than the first quarter) on 22 percent shooting. Paul Pierce was 1-of-7, Garnett 1-of-8, Joe Johnson 1-of-6, Jason terry 0-of-4. The Nets are 3-7 and have some real issues to work out.

source:   Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. He mostly gets this grade for that shimmy-shake dance he did after a key three in the final two minutes — I love the emotion from Durant. He had missed three from three leading up to that, shots that could have been like daggers, so when he finally got one to go he had to dance. Durant had 38 points on 11-of-27 shooting, plus he had 13 in the fourth quarter when they needed it most. He helped key the OKC comeback and win. But mostly it was about the dance.

source:   Mark Gasol and Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has gone 4-0 on their road trip, beating the Clippers on Monday night, and the reason is these two are executing at a high level again. Randolph had 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Gasol pushed a triple-double with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. More than just the numbers they are hustling on the boards, Gasol is being a defensive anchor, and Randolph is just taking rebounds away from people. These two simply out executed the Clippers front line of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan down the stretch and Memphis pulled away for the win.

  1. davidly - Nov 19, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    It always amazes me that first-half/second-half phenomenon elucidated so effectively above happens so regularly to so many teams at the pro level. First, a team uses ball and player movement and an inside outside game to hit a bunch of open shots. Then, as if an entropic necessity, they begin to isolate and heave a bunch of bricks from outside.

    Surely there is something else going on that we can’t see from the cheap seats?

    • zerole00 - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Yeah I can’t imagine the thought process.

      “Hey we’ve been dominating so far, but let’s do a complete 180 gameplay wise and see how that goes”

      It just doesn’t make sense. If something’s working, why mess with it?

  2. basketballgod87 - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    nets need to get it together before its too late

    • dr227 - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      is it not too late already?

    • eugenesaxe1 - Nov 19, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      The season’s started, it’s already too late.

  3. jbeagles23 - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Everyone outside of Brooklyn could see they were never a real contender. Even though it’ll take time gel by the end of the season this team will be worn out as they are old and will be playing catch up

    • bougin89 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      You may be right about the Nets not being contenders. I’m not sure they will be as worn out as you think tho. They’ve been playing their starters low minutes.

      KG 22.9 mpg
      Pierce 30.3 mpg
      Lopez 30.5 mpg
      Johnson 33.0 mpg
      Williams 25.4 mpg

      These guys aren’t getting a ton of run this early in the season. Only Johnson has played in all 10 games so far.

  4. zickhead - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I don’t blame Jason Kidd for their loses but damn, he needs to show some more fire as a coach. He just sits there calmly, and shows no emotion or anything. I don’t expect him to be like Stan Van Gundy and run up and down the side of the court screaming but he’s also no Phil Jackson where he should just chill in his seat the whole time.

    Maybe he should have taken an assistant position before being the head coach.

    • zerole00 - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      I agree it was soon early and too big a jump. There’s a reason Brian Shaw was assistant to Jackson for all those years.

  5. cruzan80 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I love how there were a million articles over the summer about how much better the Nets are now & how awful the Knicks have gotten yet here they are with one more loss than the Knicks & that’s without any major injuries to any of their players. I feel like most of the hype the Nets got was propelled by how much people hate the Knicks. The fact is despite all the constant media stuff around the Knicks, they have issues that can definitely be ironed out over time this season. Smith missed the 1st 5 games of the season…that’s their teams 2nd leading scorer…he’ll get better as the season progresses. Bargnani was lost on offense, he’s already shown to be much better with every game & Chandler will be back in lil over a month. The Nets are not gonna get younger as the season progresses & Kidd isn’t gonna morph into Doc Rivers

    • sportsfan18 - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      I love how so many on this site and others thought the Knicks would be better than they were last year.

      Not gonna happen!

      • cruzan80 - Nov 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        Ummmm….there’s literally been zero articles about the Knicks being better on this or any site unless it was ran by the Knicks. Your comment however does prove my point….they are probably the most hated team in the league other than the Heat.

  6. pbtunpaidwriter - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    It looks like the Clippers didn’t learn from their first round exit last year and still don’t know how to play when the game slows down.

    Mike Conley has to be the most underrated PG in the NBA.

  7. pbtunpaidwriter - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Where’s the Clippers grade of D-?

    They managed to get the “Chris Paul stopper” Tony Allen “kicked” out and still lost.

    Pun intended.

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