Nets Quarter-By-Quarter Numbers Reveal Problems With PG Combo


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Though the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, it was a game that may have legitimized the new-look Nets as a top-four team in the Eastern Conference.

The game was on the road against a championship contender. And though the Lakers still have a long way to go before they’re playing at their best, the Nets still withstood an incredibly hot start from Kobe Bryant and a big game from Dwight Howard to take a six-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Though they blew that lead in the final minutes, it was a solid performance overall and a big improvement over their 30-point loss at the hands of the Heat two weeks ago. Though the Nets won five straight games in between, these are the games that they will be measured by. The Nets have more of these games in the next couple of weeks, and this was one they can build on.

Nets efficiency, by quarter
Quarter OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
1st 114.8 3 109.3 29 +5.5 11
2nd 123.8 1 91.7 4 +32.1 1
3rd 83.6 30 107.2 28 -23.6 30
4th 96.8 25 100.2 10 -3.3 21

Through Tuesday, 11/20
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

It was also a continuation of a fascinating trend. The Nets won the second quarter 34-27 and lost the third quarter 20-16, helping them maintain their standing as both the best second quarter team and the worst third quarter team in the league.

The Nets have won seven of the nine second quarters they’ve played and have won five of them by double-figures. They’ve lost eight of their nine third quarters and have lost three of them by double-figures.

If Avery Johnson needs to work on his halftime message, it’s unclear on which end of the floor he needs to focus, because the contrast between the Nets’ second quarters and third quarters has been both offensively and defensively.

The contrast may be a product of who’s on the floor. And if you compare second-quarter minutes with third-quarter minutes, you find that Deron Williams is the guy with the biggest difference, 54 minutes in the second quarter and 99 in the third.

Overall, Williams has the worst on-court numbers in the Nets’ rotation (not including Gerald Wallace, who has played just three games). The All-Star point guard is a minus-18 and the Nets have been outscored by 5.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

The answer isn’t as simple as saying that the Nets are better with Williams on the bench, because he’s a plus-32 in the second quarter. Really, it could be an issue of who Williams is on the floor with.

In the second quarter, Williams has been the point guard. Only nine of his 54 second-quarter minutes have come with back-up point guard C.J. Watson on the floor. But in the third quarter, Williams and Watson have shared the floor for 41 minutes. The Nets are a minus-39 in those 41 minutes and are just a minus-9 in 67 other third-quarter minutes.

Watson has been a spark off the bench at times for the Nets, and Johnson likes a small lineup of Watson, Williams, Johnson, Wallace and Brook Lopez. But the early numbers show that Johnson may have to stay away from a Watson-Williams backcourt, especially if he wants his team to get stops defensively.

Nets efficiency with Johnson, Watson and Williams combinations

Combination MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Johnson & Watson & Williams 73 108.9 136.0 -27.1 -26
Johnson & Williams, no Watson 195 104.8 98.7 +6.0 +22
Johnson & Watson, no Williams 60 120.9 86.0 +34.9 +38
Watson & Williams, no Johnson 39 82.2 116.5 -34.3 -25

Considering the competition, Tuesday’s third quarter was actually one of the Nets’ best of their nine games so far. Not coincidentally, Watson and Williams didn’t play together in that period. But they were a minus-8 in eight total minutes in the first and fourth quarters.

It will be impossible for Johnson to avoid using a Watson-Williams backcourt completely. Williams is going to average 35 minutes per game and Watson needs to play more than 13. So, if the Nets are truly going to compete with the best teams in the league, the pair will have to figure out their issues as the season goes on.


  1. Bob M says:

    Kobe walks all the time, it’s his move. The article was about how D Will isn’t getting it done. +35 without him on the floor is shocking. I love D Will’s game and haven’t seen him play this year. I’m guessing it is an early season chemistry. Williams is too good and too smart for those kind of numbers.

  2. dattebayo says:

    The Lakers had the majority of the refs whistles, Lakers got all the 50/50 ball out of bounds calls, Howard’s goaltending was called a block, Howard got two continuations which could/should have been out of bounds, Kobe blatantly traveled twice directly in front of the referee and he didn’t call it (that’s a point of emphasis this season). The freethrow disparity was because the Nets intentionally fouled Howard and the Lakers ended up shooting more therefore. But when you look at how much contact was called a foul, the Lakers could get away with murder and Kobe almost drew phantom fouls. You have to call it consistent on both ends and you could argue the refs didn’t in this game.
    None the less the Lakers won and the Nets couldn’t finish a game again. Nice debut for D’Antoni, bad outing for the Nets.

  3. Johnson says:

    Found this forum check it out.

  4. Arthur says:

    Great game period! Refs did thier job!

  5. W/E says:

    This win against the Nets was awfull, the lakers should win this game by 20 points at least, considering they got alot of help from the refs but they couldnt shoot the ball last night, as for the Nets they got no potential, D Will and Joe Johnson are no championship material.

  6. Popoy Di Maunat says:

    Its very tough to win on the road…. But for the lakers.. Yeah they BEAT BKN in their home… But not in a convincing manner…. I know a win is a win but winning at home by 5 points with a twin tower Of Pau and D12 along with your so called greatest player kobe… doesn’t give any goosebumps on any team… To a team like OKC ,SAS, MEM,LAC,NYK, and MIA….. remember that the HEAT trash BKN by 30 points…. In the EAST it will become NYK MIA rivalry You cannot Beat the HEAT in a 7 game series…. lucky for the HEAT… Amare’s return may ruin knicks chemistry too… out in the WEST between OKC,LAC,MEM,SAS…sorry laker fans… your precious lakers won’t get past the 1st round…

  7. Game Time says:

    Nets got robbed last night; 37 FT to 21! Not to mention the calls where just horribly bias; like that block that should have been goaltending on Howard. Also the Lakers looked tired towards the end, and without those last few foul calls they would have lost. SMH

    • slider821 says:

      ah yes, the blame the ref’s excuse; a casual fan’s denial of his team’s poor play.

      Bottom line: nets had defensive breakdowns in the second half and did not continue to exploit what was working in the first half: Williams working his size on Morris and Lopez mid-range game.

      • Game Time says:

        I’m not a Net’s fan, just a fan of basketball and hate to see a one-sided game being called. If the Lakers had won by 10 or more you could say the defense broke down, but the FACT is they got to shoot (about 15 more) FTs despite taking (about 10) LESS shots than the Nets. Call me a casual fan (which I’m not), but I see you have a huge lack of understanding the game.

      • slider821 says:

        so the refs handed LA the game solely because they got to the line more? They only got to the line 37 times because they used the hack-a-dwight philosophy, forcing him to the line when it wasn’t a shooting foul. It’s not like the Nets were driving and creating contact and not getting calls. They lost because of poor execution in the last 5 minutes and could not stop LA from getting buckets. I am a fan of neither team and this was clear to me.

        Saying the refs gave the game to LA because dwight took a bunch of free throws (and missed more than 50% of them) sells LAs execution short and downplays the issue with the nets, which is they went away from what was working in the first half.

    • boehl7 says:

      The Lakers had more free throws simply becuase the Nets were fouling Howard off the ball so he’d go to the line and miss. It had nothing to do with the refs. I’m a Nets fan and we lost simply because we couldn’t make a shot late in the 4th and the Lakers could. We had some great open looks off drives and kick outs but couldn’t nail those shots.

      • Game Time says:

        See it how you want to see it, but I doubt you’re really a Nets fan. The game was decided by the calls granted to the Lakers period. The last six FTs that Kobe made where the final points to put them ahead right? And two of those last three calls were very questionable. Nuff said.

      • slider821 says:

        Gametime: your response to boehl7 post is exactly my point. You disregard all of the mistakes and poor execution by the nets in the first 47 minutes of the game to say the loss was caused by two questionable fouls in the last minute (that third one was with 0.2sec on the clock and did not matter at that point).

        They had a chance to tie the game with a 3 and missed on both attempts. Regardless, the loss was caused by an entire second half of missed opportunities.

        They came back from 10 down twice in the first half, Williams used his size on Morris and Lopez was shooting the midrange. They did neither of those in the second half. You can keep saying the refs calledthe game but with that mentality you’ll never address any real issues with a team’s play.

      • Game Time says:

        Slider821, you are contradicting yourself. You say the Nets strayed away from what they were doing the 1st half, but then you say it wasn’t like they were driving in to get the foul calls. The Nets were jump shooting through Lopez, Joe and Williams the 1st half. The 2nd half they continued doing most of the same, but towards the end they couldn’t get any calls when contact was drawn in the paint. Lakers on the other hand received three crucial calls on Kobe’s jump shots (into players) late in the 4th. The game was decided by those last few calls. Throw in the fact that they let a clear goaltending on Howard slide and you can see how the refs were one-sided. Anyhow I’m done with it. The Lakers won (questionably); end of story.