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Saturday, March 29, 2014
3-pointers are dangerous weapon for Nets

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The 3-point shot is a weapon the Brooklyn Nets have to be careful with.

As Marcus Thornton so succinctly put it, “It’s been great -- especially when we’re making it. When we’re making it, it’s a beautiful thing. When we’re missing it, it’s something different.”

Consider: In their past four games, the Nets have attempted a whooping 136 3-pointers and made 52 of them.

They have a 2-2 record to show for it:

Friday night: 14-for-29 against Cleveland (win)
Wednesday night: 17-for-37 against Charlotte (loss)
Monday night: 10-for-40 (franchise record for attempts) against New Orleans (loss)
Sunday night: 11-for-30 against Dallas (win)

“The 3 has been fairly good for us,” Joe Johnson said Saturday. “It’s come back to haunt us in a few games but for the most part we’re taking wide-open shots. It’s not like guys are just heaping up shots. With Paul [Pierce] spacing the floor at the four, we’re able to get into the teeth of the defense and kick it out for wide-open 3s. A lot of times we make them, but then there’s games that we don’t.”

The Nets are 11-4 in March -- and their ability to hit the 3-point shot is a big reason why.

In March, Brooklyn ranks in the top five in the NBA in both attempts per game (26.3) and accuracy (40.8 percent). Johnson (45.8 percent), Pierce (44.8), Thornton (41.2), Deron Williams (41) and Mirza Teletovic (36.2) are all shooting well from behind the arc in the month.

Still, as Williams said following Friday night’s game, the Nets can’t become too reliant on the 3-pointer. They have to be able to generate offense closer to the basket -- especially when the 3s aren’t falling.

“It’s always the juggling act of being able to keep your balance offensively,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “Taking wide-open 3s, but looking to take layups and let the ball touch the paint and trying to score once you get that ball in the paint. It’s something we have done, but sometimes we have gone with shooting more 3s after missing a couple. ... [Still], when the opportunity presents itself, I’m a big believer in taking [3s].”

The Nets have been thriving playing in Kidd’s free-flowing offensive system, which seems extremely suited to the personnel on the roster.

“I’ve always liked the offense that we’re running right now,” said Kidd, whose team ranks 12th in offensive efficiency since Jan. 1 (106.2 points per 100 possessions). “I always felt comfortable as a player running this offense, but with Brook [Lopez] it was something we were trying to get the ball in to him and play through him. But the offense has changed a little [since Lopez was lost for the season due to a broken foot], and we have different pieces we can still post up and play inside-out.”