Rookie Terrence Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts were the starting wings and were impressive in the Nets’ 93-92 loss Friday night over the Sixers.
Several guys stood out, including Eduardo Najera in his first Nets’ game since Jan. 31, but Williams and Douglas-Roberts played aggressively and showed that they may not only deserve to be on the floor but that they deserve to play plenty.
Maybe that’s a little too much because it’s only two games, they made mistakes and we haven’t seen Courtney Lee yet. The mistakes were fouling jump shooters late and leaving Jason Kapono alone for a game-tying three with 57.5 seconds left, less than five seconds after he entered game. A little flashback to last year.
But overall, the two swingmen showed their versatility and strengths in a game the Nets lost after blowing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead.
Williams did a little of everything, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. He buried a few baseline jumpers and had a terrific pass from up top inside to Yi Jianlian for a dunk. Williams had one driving lefty dunk and another righty slam in the fourth that brought the Nets’ bench out of their seats.
Williams ran the point to start the fourth. It lasted about 2:30. The Nets scored just two points in that time and Williams didn’t score them or assist on them.
Douglas-Roberts followed his 21-point game against the Knicks with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He scored in transition and get most of his points inside, including a bucket with 12.7 seconds left to give the Nets to lead.
But they lost it on the next trip on an Elton Brand fadeaway with seven seconds left. The Nets’ last shot, a Rafer Alston three, missed badly.
The Nets played through Brook Lopez late. He scored 11 of his 18 in the fourth.
You see the impact Najera could have. He had nine points and six rebounds in 19 minutes, but was active on both ends of the floor. The same with Tony Battie, who gave the Nets seven points off the bench.
The defense was much better than against the Knicks. The Sixers don’t have the shooters the Knicks do, but the overall defensive performance was better and Williams and Najera definitely had something to do with it.
The negatives were Yi’s play. He was off – threw up on airball early – and had nearly as many fouls (6) as points (7).
Devin Harris left the game with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return. It’s the same ankle he tweaked Tuesday. He didn’t have a field goal and scored just five points. But he acted as if his ankle was fine, nothing serious.