Sunday, February 23, 2014
Many silver linings in loss to Warriors
By Ethan Sherwood Strauss | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- It’s hard to spin a loss against an injury-depleted opponent as anything positive. It’s especially difficult to be so sanguine when one of your own valued rotation players gets hurt in the process. But there are silver linings in Brooklyn’s 93-86 loss to a Warriors team that lacked Andrew Bogut and David Lee.
One mitigating factor is that the first-half injury to Shaun Livingston doesn’t appear too serious.
“I came down hard,” Livingston said after the game. “I did it before a couple years back. Just a bruised tailbone, so it’s a contusion.”
Deron Williams played spectacularly against Golden State.
He was walking around the locker room, under his own power, showing no signs of a visible limp. When asked about his status for Sunday's game, Livingston said, “We’ll see. It’s usually the worst day, so I have to wake up tomorrow and just kind of go from there and see how it feels.”
As for positive signs from the game itself, it could easily be argued that Brooklyn was especially unlucky on 3-pointers. The Nets went a putrid 2-21 from deep, and quite a few of those attempts were open.
“I thought we had a lot of good shots, actually,” Paul Pierce recounted. “They just didn’t fall. Sometimes you live by the 3, die by the 3.”
Perhaps the Nets should have relied less on the long ball, given that Golden State was without its top rim protector. In any event, there’s a degree of poor fortune in missing so many high variance attempts.
The main positive takeaway from this loss, though, is the continued quality play from Deron Williams.
When assessing his play since the All-Star break, the star point guard responded, “Ya I’m feeling better, physically I’m feeling better, mentally, you know it definitely helped to get away, try to re-focus.”
He looked even better than his 20-point, six-assist performance might suggest, especially when you consider the defense he played on Stephen Curry. Williams stayed glued to Curry off the ball, and in pick and roll, limiting the Golden State sharpshooter to a mere 13 shots.
Even Curry’s big 3-pointer with 27 seconds left came with some difficulty (it banked in).
Williams affirmed that he was mostly satisfied with his defense on Curry, saying, “I was [satisfied] till he hit that last 3. I thought I did a pretty good job of make it tough on him to get open, give him space, and then on that last play I got hit with a, good screen, and let him get open.”
On whether Curry’s banker was accidental, Williams replied, “Ya. He didn’t call it.”
There were aspects of this Nets loss that can’t be reduced to “bad luck,” such as their tendency to bog the offense down with Joe Johnson isolations.
But, in a vacuum, this loss was more of a window into what’s going right with the Nets rather than what’s going wrong.