In the first half, this game was a shootout as neither team could figure out how to stop the other. Thomas was incredible for the Nets off the bench as he put up 20 points and four assists to help Brooklyn hang around enough to go into halftime trailing 68-62.
In the second half, the Nets ran away with things in the third quarter thanks to them winning the period 38-22 because of some great play from Dinwiddie and Claxton. The fourth quarter was a continuation of the third and Los Angeles eventually threw in the towel to signal Brooklyn’s victory before the final buzzer.
Here are your Nets player grades following Friday’s win:
Spencer Dinwiddie: B+
Dinwiddie was more aggressive in this game than he has been in the past month or so, but this continued a trend of him usually not shooting the ball well. He was able to hit his threes when they came with him open and in rhythm, but he had trouble getting anything going while driving towards the basket. Not much else came from Dinwiddie in this one and it’s clear that he is one of the main reasons that Brooklyn wins/loses game with the roster the way that it is now.
Mikal Bridges: B
Bridges had a solid offensive performance as he didn’t force many shots and that seemed to be the main reason that he was efficient. While he has improved his ability to drive to the rim, Bridges noticeably waxes and wanes when it comes to how often he puts pressure on the rim and the Nets’ offense sorely needs more dribble penetration. He did a solid job on the defensive end as he didn’t appear to get blown by as much as he was in the beginning of the season so that was good to see.
Cam Johnson: C+
Johnson did not do much on the offensive end for the Nets and for some reason, the Nets have not been able to get everybody in the starting lineup firing on all cylinders in the same game. While that is hardly a surprise, it is concerning that Brooklyn cannot get enough of their starting lineup to have good shooting nights in order to make things easier for the team and Johnson is someone who has cooled off considerably from where he was a week or two ago.
Finney-Smith did not have a good offensive outing for the Nets in this one as he couldn’t buy a bucker from anywhere on the floor. He had some nice drives to the rim, but for some reason, he could not finish unless the play resulted in a dunk. He did a little bit of everything else outside of scoring and he played some solid defense when he had the chance to guard Anthony Davis or LeBron James.
Nic Claxton: A+
Claxton had one of his best offensive games of the season for the Nets in this one as he scored in virtually every way possible without having to take a jump shot. He had some incredibly difficult putback attempts and he even had some possessions where he took the ball right at Anthony Davis and had some impressive finishes against one of the better defensive bigs in the league. Claxton was active on the glass as he usually is and he had some nice moments of defending the rim as well.
Cam Thomas: A+
Thomas was on fire in this one as he couldn’t miss from anywhere on the court and he was also productive from behind the three-point line. Thomas was unstoppable no matter who was guarding him and he found most of his scoring success coming when Austin Reaves was on him. Thomas showed some growth in this one as he did a good job of handling the double-teams that came at him and he also used his gravity to create scoring opportunities for his teammates as well.
Royce O'Neale: C
O’Neale did not shoot the ball well in this one at all and that was disappointing to see considering that he was getting plenty of open shots against the Lakers. As has been said many times, when O’Neale is not hitting his three-pointers, it’s unlikely that he will make much of an impact on the offensive end of the court for the Nets. However, O’Neale did a good job of making up for that by picking up some assists within Brooklyn’s offense and fighting hard in rebounding situations.
Dennis Smith Jr.: B-
Smith did a good job of playing his role to perfection in this one as he didn’t trying to play outside of his skill set on the offensive end unless the moment called for it. He did a great job of driving to the rim when he had the right matchup and he continued to be aggressive and trying to put pressure on the defense. Smith did a solid job of running the show for Brooklyn and he was his usual tenacious self on the defensive end that led to some transition points for the Nets after forcing some timely turnovers.
Lonnie Walker IV: B+
Walker did a great job of scoring the basketball in this one in a homecoming of sorts for him after spending last season with the Lakers. Similar to Cam Thomas, Walker was unguardable from behind the three-point line or when he decided to drive to the rim for some athletic finishes. Walker showed his ability to make an impact through his scoring and he even brought some value through his passing as well.