Brooklyn Nets vs Washington Wizards Notes & Observation: 3/24/17
The Brooklyn Nets were riding high on their two game win streak as they cruised into Washington for the first of a quick two game road trip. Unfortunately that didn’t last long, as John Wall and Brandon Jennings ran Brooklyn out of the gym 129-108.
Rumor has it Papa Roach was later heard blaring from the away locker room following the final buzzer… Okay, not really but after blowing out Phoenix the night before Brooklyn was hoping to make this game more competitive.
Archie Goodwin had yet another impressive game off the bench, scoring 10 points on a perfect three of there from the floor. Jeremy Lin had an alright performance with 14 points, three assists, and one rebound on five of thirteen shooting overall while Brook Lopez was a non-factor with six points, two assists, and seven rebounds on three of eight shooting.
The biggest takeaways from this game were that Washington’s point guards destroyed Brooklyn, Bogan Bogdanovic was looking for some revenge on his old team, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had another big game, and both K.J. McDaniels and Hamilton had big nights off the bench again.
Washington’s Point Guards Tore Up Brooklyn
It has been no secret that Brooklyn has struggled all season long against quick, athletic point guards that can drive with ease and dish to teammates when they become open. Both John Wall and Brandon Jennings were both able to pick the Nets apart all game long and it was one of the largest reasons Washington was able to get out to such a gigantic lead.
Wall finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, and four rebounds on nine of sixteen shooting in just 23 minutes of action while Jennings ended with 18 points, nine assists, and three rebounds while going four of six from deep.
Jeremy Lin has struggled defending quick/elusive point guards his entire career, so to see the quickest and most elusive guard in the league have a big night against him isn’t shocking. Lin may have the fastest first step measured but that is an offensive measurement. It is an action, not a reaction. Pairing him next to Randy Foye does no favors either. Unless LeVert switches off a small forward or is playing guard, fast guards will always give this lineup trouble.
The blame of course does not all fall on Lin. Both Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead struggled greatly to slow these players down as well. Brooklyn is going to need to focus on finding a defensive minded guard this offseason or end the Hollis-Jefferson at the four experiment, move him back to small forward, bump LeVert to shooting guard, and find a starting caliber power forward in free agency or the draft.
Bogan Revenge Game?
Seeing Bogan Bogdanovic on the Washington Wizards was a little weird. Watching him toy with his former team to the tune of 17 points, two assists, seven rebounds, one steal, and one block on six of twelve shooting from the floor was a little painful.
Bogdan was finally freed from what I’m sure he viewed as basketball purgatory, so it must have felt good to have a big game against them for his new team. He has found an excellent role as one of the first players off the bench for Washington. He is another gunner off the bench for a team that has increased their chances of making a deep playoff run after adding Jennings and Bogan.
Hollis-Jefferson Has Another Big Night
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has had an up and down season as far as consistency on offense but thankfully last night he was on. He ended with 19 points, two assists, and seven rebounds on nine of thirteen shooting from the floor in 22 minutes of action.
What he lacks in a pure jump shot he makes up for with tenacity and craftiness. When matched up against the lanky Otto Porter Jr., Hollis-Jefferson was able to still be productive from the floor thanks to his bag of tricks when in the paint. He can often get it done with a variety of fadeaway jumpers, fundamental post moves, and strong finishes.
The RHJ at the four experiment has been an interesting one, and this is the perfect year to try it, but it should be over after this season. Hollis-Jefferson is a gifted player that is one jumper away from being a solid starter in the NBA. Atkinson should have him doing nothing but shooting in the gym all offseason and then stick him back at the three. Roll out a lineup of Lin-LeVert-RHJ-(insert power forward here)-Lopez next season and watch teams try to penetrate from the perimeter with both LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson out there.
McDaniels, Hamilton Have Big Nights Off The Bench
For the second game in as many night, both K.J. McDaniels and Justin Hamilton had big nights off the bench. McDaniels had 10 points, one assist, two rebounds, one block, and one steal on four of eight shooting from the floor while Hamilton had an incredible 20 points, two assists, and six rebounds on seven of eleven shooting from the floor in just 22 minutes of action.
Both of these players are auditioning for future spots on the team but only one should remain after this season. Hamilton has been on the squad since the beginning of the season, but has been generally ineffective for Brooklyn. He isn’t bad for some random scoring off the bench, like last night, but he doesn’t offer much from a defensive standpoint. He isn’t a spring chicken anymore and his NBA career will most likely start to trend downward after this season.
McDaniels on the other hand, has been a very pleasant surprise. Not many were sure what to expect after his pedestrian stop in Houston, but the swingman has seemingly found his home in Brooklyn. He is someone that can easily defend three positions while also being able to fill it up on offense. Much like Hollis-Jefferson, he is also a consistent three point jumper away from being in a much different situation.