ESPN Insider Tom Haberstroh ranked the Nets second behind the Miami Heat in his Eastern Conference Power Rankings for July. According to Haberstroh:
With the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston and Jason Terry, this might be the deepest team in the league. A lot of ink (err, bandwidth) has been spilled on the aging core, but let’s not forget that their two best players — Deron Williams and Brook Lopez — are in their primes.
The Kirilenko addition should do wonders to keep Pierce and Garnett fresh for the playoffs, which will be huge with their lofty goals for next season. There’s a very real possibility that the Nets show their age and fail to make strides in 2013-14, but they’ve cooled those concerns with a monster bench.
The Nets (on paper) may arguably be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but I think it’s little premature to give them a #2 ranking. The Indiana Pacers grew leaps and bounds in the playoffs without Danny Granger and a legitimate bench. In the offseason, the Pacers have not only retained a key piece in David West for another three years, they’ve also added players (C.J. Watson, Chris Copeland, Luis Scola) to bolster their bench. Considering its offseason additions, the run to the Eastern Conference Finals, Granger’s return and the emergence of big man Roy Hibbert and Paul George, Indiana should be held in higher regard. The Chicago Bulls are also a team not to sneeze at. Even without the services of Derrick Rose, Chicago gave the Heat and Nets fits during the regular season and postseason. Now that Rose is healthy, along with the offseason addition of sharp shooter Mike Dunleavy Jr., the Bulls figure to be better than they were a season ago and are just as talented as the Nets and Pacers to contend with the Heat for supremacy in the East. My Eastern Conference Power Ranking:
Would you agree?
Here’s a game clip from NBA.com:
For the second straight game on this eight-game road trip, the Nets found themselves in a competitive battle against a Western conference foe. Only this time, the final score was in favor of the Nets. Brooklyn held on to a 102-100 win over the Phoenix Suns, who could have sent the game into overtime if reserve forward Hamed Haddadi had connected on a putback at the end of regulation. Continue reading
Brooklyn had no answer for Clippers guard Chris Paul and his pick-and-rolls in the second half. Paul scored 17 of his game-high 29 points to lead Los Angeles to a 101-95 win over the Nets at the Staples Center Saturday night. Brooklyn held its own against one of the Western conference’s best teams. Up to the closing seconds in regulation, the game was in doubt for the Clippers. After a timeout, Deron Williams hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 99-95 with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter. But that was the closest Brooklyn got because the Clippers iced the game at the free throw line. Williams and Lopez each scored 18 in the loss for the Nets, who will look to rebound when they take on the lowly Suns in Phoenix on Sunday.
- Chris Paul leads Clippers past Nets (newsday.com)
When the Philadelphia 76ers lost 101-100 to the streaking Denver Nuggets– winners of 14 straight–Brooklyn clinched a playoff berth for the first time in five years. The Nets (40-28) are vastly improved from last year’s team (then the New Jersey Nets) that won only 12 games. Two factors have been instrumental to the Nets success this season: the productivity of Brook Lopez and the firing of Avery Johnson. Lopez has been nothing short of spectacular when he’s been healthy (he missed some games earlier in the season because of an ankle injury). He’s averaging 19 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and was named to his first All-Star team. As for the firing of Coach Avery Johnson, it was a decision that I did not agree with. But it’s easier to dispose of a coach than it is with players for underperformance. Since the firing, Brooklyn’s record is 26-14. Unfortunately for Johnson, the Nets’ recent success speaks to how desperately they needed a new voice to salvage a promising season.
Deron Williams came to play Wednesday, leading the Nets to a 113-96 win over the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. He was unstoppable especially in the second half, scoring 26 of his 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Continue reading
Here’s a game clip from NBA.com:
Joe Johnson has enjoyed playing the role of Mr. Clutch this season. His jumper with 22 seconds left lifted the Nets to 88-85 win over the NY Knicks at MSG today. Johnson finished the contest with 25 points; Deron Williams added 14 points and 12 assists. Carmelo Anthony scored 29 for the Knicks but shot only 11-of-29 from the field and was 0-for-6 in the fourth quarter. This is a good win not only for Brooklyn, who splits the season series with their crosstown rival, but also for the metropolitan area, which now has the privilege of having two premier basketball teams playing in its backyard. The Nets have won 11 of 13 under P.J. Carlesimo and will look to avenge an early season loss to the T-wolves when they face off again in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Deron Williams poured in a game-high 24 points to lead the Nets to a 94-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays center Wednesday night. Continue reading
The Brooklyn Nets’ seven-game win streak came to an unceremonious end Wednesday night after losing to the Atlanta Hawks, 109-95, at Philips Arena. Though without the services of star player, Josh Smith, who was suspended a game for poor conduct, the Hawks were efficient on offense. Guards Jeff Teague and Devin Harris (former Net) combined for 46 points and 16 assists. Continue reading
Brooklyn extended its winning streak to seven games after topping the Toronto Raptors, 113-106 at Barclays center on Tuesday. The Nets had five players in double figures. Brook Lopez had 22 points and nine rebounds. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 21 points. The top reserves for the Nets, Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic accounted for 24 points off a Brooklyn bench that scored a season-high 40. Continue reading