Starting Five: Red-hot bench
February, 10, 2014
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty ImagesOn Sunday night against New Orleans, the Nets' bench outscored the Pelicans reserves 59-31.NEW YORK -- On Sunday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Brooklyn Nets did something they had never done before in their NBA history: they won a game in which none of their starters scored more than nine points.
It wasn’t necessarily that their starters struggled. It was more that their bench was terrific, outscoring the Pelicans' reserves 59-31 and allowing Brooklyn’s first group to get some much-needed rest in a 93-81 victory.
“They’re huge,” Deron Williams, who played just 25 minutes -- eight below his season average and the most of any starter -- said of the team’s “Bench Mob.” They provided us with so much energy, especially when they’re playing like that, they’re playing like starters, so it’s a nice luxury to have.”
Nets GM Billy King has been touting his team’s depth all season -- especially when Brook Lopez went down. It’s certainly nice when guys with the resumes of Andrei Kirilenko (2004 All-Star), Jason Terry (Sixth Man of the Year in 2009), Andray Blatche (10.1 points per game in career), Mirza Teletovic (decorated career in Europe) and Alan Anderson (accomplished journeyman) are spelling your starters. (Brooklyn could probably use a proven third point guard now that Shaun Livingston has stepped into the starting lineup.)
“Our job as a bench is to make an impact on the game, and I thought we did that tonight,” Terry said. “[The starters] are gonna need us, especially down the stretch of the season.”
This season, Brooklyn’s bench ranks fourth in scoring (38.4), sixth in field-goal percentage (45.5), ninth in 3-point field-goal percentage (36.4), tied for first in rebounding (17.7) and tied for fourth in assists (8.0).
In the last 10 games, Nets reserves have averaged 48.3 points -- tops in the NBA.
The last time Brooklyn’s bench was outscored by an opponent’s bench? Jan. 16 in London, granted the Nets were blowing out the Atlanta Hawks, so that stat is a bit skewed.
Rookie reserve Mason Plumlee led the way Sunday night, scoring a career-high 22 points, tying his career-high with 13 rebounds and adding three steals and two blocks.
Nets coach Jason Kidd has wanted to conserve the minutes veterans like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce so they can be ready for the playoffs. Having a talented bench allows Kidd to do that.
“I thought the bench played great [Sunday night], just talking to the coaches, I thought they played like the did in Detroit, and that was a carry-over from the Detroit game,” Kidd said. “They’ve executed and I think they gave the starters a big lift because they got the lead and built a lead and they kept the lead.”
Question: What do you think about Brooklyn’s Bench Mob?
Stats a plenty: The Nets have won 17 straight games when leading at halftime. They are 21-1 when leading after three quarters. They are 9-0 when holding their opponent under 90 points and 14-0 when holding their opponent under 95. They are 9-0 when holding their opponent under 40 percent shooting. They have won 12 straight games when they’ve outrebounded their opponent. They are 10-2 in their last 12 games at home.
Up next: Off Monday, practice Tuesday