In the first half, Brooklyn got out to a fast start as they went up 16-6 with 5:25 left in the first quarter. Washington closed the gap in the second quarter as the shooting for the Nets fell off by a considerable amount compared to how they were shooting in the first quarter.
In the second half, it seemed that both teams were in cruise control as each team took turns committing inexplicable turnovers or missing easy shots that they probably make in their sleep. In the end, the Nets made about two or three plays when they mattered most to help them come away with the win after this eyesore of a game.
Here are your Nets player grades for Sunday’s win:
Spencer Dinwiddie: B-
Dinwiddie did not have his best offensive game as he struggled from the field overall, especially from three-point land. One thing about Dinwiddie’s game is that when his shot isn’t falling, he has the tendency to hunt for the foul as opposed to just trying to score through the contact. His foul-hunting then creates a cycle of him being upset with the refs, further taking him out of his game. Dinwiddie was solid on the defensive end as the Wizards don’t have anyone on the team that tried to hunt him within its offensive scheme.
Mikal Bridges: C+
After watching Sunday’s game, it’s clear that Bridges is still struggling to shoot the three-ball. For some reason, whether he gets open or covered looks, Bridges just can’t seem to find his touch from deep. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with his gather into his shot, but there are times where it seems that Bridges is rushing to get his shot off and that’s usually where he sees his worst misses. With that being said, Bridges was a monster on the boards which was good to see given his overall shooting struggles.
Cam Johnson: C-
Johnson could not buy a bucket in this one despite getting some good looks over the course of the game. Similar to Mikal Bridges, Johnson seems to be shooting his shots with his usual rhythm and timing, but for some reason, the touch is just not there. Johnson may still be trying to play on his left calf that he just came back from so it’s possible that he may not have the lift that he needs to shoot how he normally does. Other than that, Johnson did a good job in the rebounding department as he had to help Nic Claxton rebound on the interior.
Finney-Smith did not have much of an offensive impact as he three-point shot did not go down as much as Nets fans have been accustomed to this season. Finney-Smith is only looking to shoot from three and while he and Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn are just fine with them, they can result in some games where his shooting is subpar.
Nic Claxton: A+
Claxton came back from his left ankle sprain to play in this game after missing the past right games with the injury. Claxton played like he never left as he made most of his shots near the rim while looking like his ankle wasn’t giving him much trouble. He had a few moments where he was able to try some post moves and he was proficient at those, especially his spin moves in the post. Claxton was also back to his usual self in terms of rebounding the basketball and protecting the rim.
Day'Ron Sharpe: B+
Sharpe has show a lot of improvement this season and this game was no different in terms of how he has played. Sharpe is not the most coordinated player in the NBA so some of his plays will look less than pretty, but what he has done a great job of doing this season is his effort. Sharpe did a great job of running up and down the floor and he was active on both glasses which led to some easy points for him as well.
Royce O'Neale: B
O’Neale played well in this one in his bench role now that Cam Johnson and Nic Claxton are back from their injuries. Like Dorian Finney-Smith, O’Neale is looking to shoot the ball from deep and that’s about it. O’Neale will drive to the rim when the opportunity presents itself, but other than that, he is looking to bomb away from three-point land. More to the point, O’Neale is a swiss-army knife of sorts in that he can do a little bit of everything on the floor and in this one, he added some value as a rebounder and as a secondary facilitator.
Dennis Smith Jr.: B-
Aside from the turnovers, Smith Jr. played well in this one. He can sometimes be a liability on the offensive end of the floor for the Nets, but against the Wizards, he was actually a plus with the way that he was shooting the three-ball. Smith is not involved much in the offense and he hasn’t been driving to the rim as much as expected, but he has been someone who can contribute on that end from time to time. He was also pretty good at distributing the basketball to his teammates and he did a great job of rebounding from his guard spot on the floor.
Lonnie Walker IV: D
Walker had two things happen to him in this one: he had a pretty bad injury scare and he had his first bad shooting game of the season. He was shooting the shots that he normally shoots, but as everyone who has ever played basketball knows, some days are just not your days. That was true for Walker in two ways. He also suffered an injury scare at the end of the second quarter as he was slow to get up after taking some contact at the rim. However, it was good news for everyone involved, including him, that he was able to come back and play.
Watford did not play as much in this contest, but that did not seem to be related to his performance when he was out there. He did not shoot particularly well from the field and wasn’t able to create much through his ball-handling, but he was decent on the glass. It seemed that Jacque Vaughn gravitated towards staying big with Day’Ron Sharpe and Nic Claxton given Washington’s lack of big men.