The Nets came into last night’s Toilet Bowl having allowed 107.5 points per 100 possessions, the very worst mark in the league. They outdid themselves against the struggling Knicks, allowing the equivalent of 130 points per 100 possessions in a game that began as something of a snark spectacle and gradually became a serious embarrassment for a team with absolutely no clue right now on either end of the floor.
The Knicks did nothing special, though they did come out in the second half clearly committed to running more motion-based plays and generally playing the kind of offense an NBA team should play. They ran a few Carmelo Anthony–Andrea Bargnani pick-and-pops, and they thrived whenever they posted Anthony up against the game but overmatched Alan Anderson. Anthony loves to catch the ball, face up in one-on-one situations, and take midrange jumpers off the bounce. That is glamorous, highlight stuff.
"You can add it up. I don't want to do your job, but for me it's most important to have a championship.”
Those are the words of Mikhail Prokhorov from last September, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his new billion-dollar arena, in regard to his Nets paying the luxury tax. Last offseason, Brooklyn made a series of headline-stealing, big-money moves to assemble a core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, all of which came with a hefty price tag (the Nets' payroll was $87.65 million last season), but one that also clearly stated the boss’s intentions. And if Prokhorov’s win-now approach was already on display then, it’s really on display now.
A survey of the players and teams making moves in last night's NBA action.
1. Joe Johnson
Hey, guys, maybe you weren't in the last meeting, so I just want to catch you up. Apparently, the Barclays Center fills up on a cold Tuesday night when Milwaukee comes to town, the crowd actually rocks out a little, the Lakers-Staples theater lighting looks awesome, the Bucks are/were something of an arch-nemesis of the Nets (winning 13 in a row against the franchise, regardless of what side of the East River they were located), and Joe Johnson is now an ice-cold closer with a disturbing, growing dagger collection.
In honor of ESPN Films' Arnold Palmer documentary, we've done some deep digging and discovered several, perhaps less-popular (or even real) drinks that were discovered by athletes, by happenstance. No, these beverages never took off the way the Arnold Palmer did. Perhaps that's for the best.
The Tiger Woods
Ingredients: Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice and Ambien
It was the summer of 2009 in a soundproof, windowless room, somewhere in the bowels of the Tao Nightclub in Vegas. Unreleased R. Kelly demos played through unattainable Scandinavian sound systems. Maybe someone said, "YO. LET'S GET SLEEPY." Who knows who? Who cares? The next thing you know it's 10 mg of Ambien later and Tiger Woods was praying at Amen Corner. One minute he was stepping in the name of love, the next, it was enter sandman. The next morning, watching Steel Magnolias on Southern Starz, things started to come back into focus for the no. 1 money-earner. Watching the scene in which Sally Field nurses Julia Roberts out of diabetic shock while sitting in a beauty salon, Tiger remembered the faithful words some girl (she said her name was Jocelyn? Was that it?) whispered into his ear. "Shelby, drink your juice." He was floating through the night kitchen all over again. — Chris Ryan
Going into last night’s mondo-hyped inter-borough showdown, the Brooklyn Nets boasted an 8-4 record — an admirable start for any team, but especially impressive for one that finished 22-44 last season. Nevertheless, the New York Knicks have captivated the imagination of the city, and in the process spawned a fledgling (but absurd) public campaign propelling Carmelo Anthony as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
And so, with slightly over a minute remaining in the first half of Monday’s game at the Barclays Center, Anthony was greeted at the foul line by an echoing “MVP” chant. Nets loyalists countered with enough baritone boos to partially drown out the visitors, but the message was sent. Even in Brooklyn’s new arena, this is the Knicks’ town.
Hey, it's Rembert Browne, Hawks fan. I'm writing to you today because you just got traded to Brooklyn, and that makes me slightly happy. Actually, let's be real, I'm grinning from ear to ear. Sports-fan me hasn't been this thrilled since we got Michael Vick, so that's saying something, Joe.
The initial collective reaction to the Joe Johnson–to-the-Nets trade was laughter. The Nets are taking on one of the worst contracts in basketball while seemingly limiting their chances of landing Dwight Howard. Let's look at how Johnson can fit with the Nets on the court.
Joe Johnson, or ISO-Joe, as he has been affectionately called by bloggers for a little while now, needs the ball in his hand and holds on to it, almost always to the detriment of the team. But there is still hope for a core of Deron Williams (assuming he stays, of course), Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, if Johnson is willing to play off of the basketball a little more. He never did that with any consistency while he was with the Hawks, though it's not clear if that was by design or not. Thirty-five percent of his total possessions were isolations (Synergy Sports labeled 22.7 percent of his possessions isolation plays and 12.2 percent as post-up plays).
But just because Johnson didn't play off the ball often (only 16.7 percent of his possessions were spot-up plays) doesn't mean he can't. Last year, he scored 224 points on 188 spot-up possessions, which translates to a PPP of 1.191 and the 94th percentile. Johnson is a big guy with a high release point on his quick shooting motion. He has range and the ability to find the open area when his man turns his back on him.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Atlanta Hawks agreed in principle to trade Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for point guard Devin Harris, and sources report that they've also reached a handshake deal with the Nets that would send Joe Johnson to Brooklyn for several expiring contracts. "We're cleaning house," said new Hawks GM Danny Ferry, in his first week on the job. Ferry's "blank-slate" philosophy is so extreme that he even traded his wife of 20 years to Dallas owner Mark Cuban in exchange for three used Macbooks and an aging housekeeper who will do "just about anything."