Returning to his home city of Dallas, Deron Williams had a massive game against the team he almost signed with this offseason with the owner (Mark Cuban) who desperately tried to reel him in watching in the crowd. Good day for Brooklyn
After a first quarter in which the Mavericks outscored the Nets 32-22, Brooklyn surged back in quarters two through four, returning the favor to Dallas by winning those periods by totals of 10, eight, and nine points respectively. The Nets and Mavs were pretty even for much of the opening quarter until an 8-0 run by Dallas bookended by a Brandan Wright (former Net) three-point play and MIke James (Long Island native) three-pointer. Brook Lopez played well for Brooklyn in the first, but the Nets just didn't have an answer for the Mavs' hot shooters in Jae Crowder and Dirk Nowitzki who helped their team jump out to a quick double-digit lead.
In the second, the Net bench, which had a great game on Monday vs Detroit, was led by two guys mainly, as Andray Blatche and Keith Bogans were the only reserves of note to put up significant stat-lines. Blatche, shaking-and-baking his ways to some probably-undeserved foul calls and open lanes to the basket, knocked in 14 points on 6-7 shooting. Coming off a mix of free throws, contested jumpers, and unorthdox lay-ins, Blatche played the way he has much of this season: Oddly, but effectively.
Bogans stuck to what has been good for him as a Net, and that is the corner three, of which he made three on the night, en route to a nine-point effort. However, the best way in which the bench contributed to the winning effort was on defense, as the Mavericks were held to 8-19 (42 percent) shooting in the 12-minute span. Also, helped by out by eight rebounds just from Reggie Evans, the Nets outrebounded Dallas 14-8 in the second quarter, which helped make that 10-point advantage in the quarter that big.
Once the game reached halftime all tied up at 51, the Nets took over, winning the 2nd half by a grand total of 17 points, which made the game end up looking like a blowout, even though it was relatively close throughout. The big takeaway from the last 24 minutes of the contest was that the Mavericks didn't have a single player reach double-digits in points in the 2nd half alone, the Nets had two: Brook and D-Will. In just the third and fourth quarters, Brook just missed one of nine shots he took in order to drop a cool 20.
Deron, meanwhile, was a little less effective (11-18 from the field) but scored 26, including a stretch late in the third quarter in which he hit what felt like five-straight face-up mid-range jumpers on what felt like five-straight possessions. I'm sure it wasn't actually five made shots in-a-row, but the feeling exerted by Deron on the game made it seem like he was in a zone noone else could detect as Deron played like the All-Star he has been in years past. He's been playing increasingly well as of late, but tonight's performance by the Brooklyn point guard just might be the complete culmination of D-Will's return to relevancy. I think he's truly back to what he used to be. And that's scary good for the Nets.
Some other observations I had from the game: Brook and D-Will were the far-and-away stars of this one, scoring 38 and 31 points respectively. Brook's total marked a season-high and the combined efforts of the Nets' two players signified the first time two Nets have had 30 or more points in the same game since March 26th of 2010, when, in a win vs the Pistons, YI JIanlian (horrifying blast from the past) scored 31 points and Brook had 37. Whenever you can be mentioned in the same statistic as Yi Jianlian, you know it's certainly noteworthy…….#ReggieEvansReboundWatch: 22. Reggie's 6th 20-or-more rebound game of the year. Yep, he's incredible…..Brook had a nice rebounding game of his own, grabbing 11 to complete a double-double, a feat which has been surprisingly uncommon for Brook this year…….Brook hit 15 of his 22 shots this evening while D-Will hit 13 of 25. On the other hand, Joe Johnson scored just nine on 4-12 shooting (but led Brooklyn in +/- with a +23). When the Nets can have two of three stars shoot and score like Brook and D-Will did, having another star play as poorly as Joe isn't even that devastating, just a little unfortunate and annoying…..MarShon got some second-quarter playing time, but would only play then, as he got just four minutes for the whole game. Had great game Monday vs Detroit, but no rewarded for that effort tonight.
The Nets, successfully done with 1/4 of their mega-long circus road trip, head to Southern California to take on the Clippers on Saturday night (game starts at 10:30 ET, just a note).