The NBA: Breaking Even

Deron Williams is the only reason the Nets are even
drawing any attention. Can he be enough to tow the Nets
to a respectable season?

*All images are from the Associated Press.

"Everything on their team goes through Deron Williams. He's got that ball in his hands the majority of the game. He's going to get in the post, he's going to penetrate, he's going to play a lot of pick-and-rolls, get in the open court… he's a big part of what they do in their offense. In my eyes, he's still an All-Star." – Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins

The way Deron Williams torched the 76ers, you’d think Collins was a prophet.

D-Will led all scorers with 34 points, dished out 11 dimes, grabbed 4 boards and hit 3 triples in a 48-minute tour of duty that saw New Jersey win just its 5th game since the new year.

The Nets continued to play without “potentially good” center Brook Lopez, and it was also the second game rookie sparkplug MarShon Brooks missed due to injury.

But, somehow, Deron willed the Nets to victory – their 4th in the last 8 games. That gives them a .500 mark starting January 13, 2012, and, if things continue at that trajectory, maybe, they have a shot at the postseason in the East.

That’s a pretty BIG maybe, though.

The Nets management just missed their chance to extend the contracts of Lopez and injured forward Damion James, which could mean they’ve all but given up on the present iteration of the team, and the current season, in preparation for a wild mid-2012 free agency derby.

But as long as Deron’s there, like Collins implied, New Jersey will have at least one potential All-Star, and a respectable shot at stealing games.

That’s not exactly the kind of net profit the Nets are dreaming of, but it is what it is.

At least right now, in terms of the past 8 games, they’re breaking even.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

CLE over NYK, 91-81 – The Cavs continue to overachieve, though if at 7-10 your team’s overachieving, that’s really saying a lot.
WAS over CHA, 92-75 – Andray Blatche’s double-double gives the Wiz just their 3rd win, and their interim coach, Randy Wittman, a 1.000 winning percentage to start his tour of duty.
NJN over PHI, 97-90 (OT) – D-Will unloads a double-double as the Nets upset the erstwhile surging Sixers, and on the road, too!
MIA over DET, 101-98 – Pistons almost pulled the rug from under the Heat, if it weren’t for LeBron James’s sharp free throw shooting.
IND over CHI, 95-90 – Bulls’ 4-game win streak gets snapped as the Pacers bounce back form their loss to the Magic.
MIL over HOU, 105-99 – Two straight 30+ point quarters help give the Bucks a nice win over the Rockets, who won 7 in a row before this game.
OKC over NOH, 101-91 – KD and James Harden combined for 43 points as the Thunder sustained their hot start to defeat the Hornets.
SAS over ATL, 105-83 – Tiago Splitter has become a little more consistent in dishing out quality games, helping San Antonio to a 10-1 home record.
MIN over DAL, 105-90 – The Mavericks’ woes continue as they let the Wolves in and were consequently devoured by Kevin Love’s 31 and 10.
TOR over UTA, 111-106 (2OT) – Jose Calderon hit some improbable threes to help the Raptors win their second straight and hand the Jazz just their third loss at home.
DEN over SAC, 122-93 – Gallo continues to wow, netting 23 points to spearhead Denver’s fifth win in a row.
GSW over POR, 101-93 – Curry returns with aplomb, scoring 32 points, grabbing 6 boards and dishing out 7 assists as the Warriors finally win against a Western team.
LAL over LAC, 96-91 – The Lakers finally win one against the Clippers. Twin trees Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol punished the interior, combining for 42 points, 16 rebounds and 5 rejections.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Deron Williams (NJN) – 34
LeBron James (MIA) & Steph Curry (GSW) – 32
Paul Millsap (UTA) & Kevin Love (MIN) – 31

Steph Curry came back and haunted the Blazers
with a superb all-around effort.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) & Kris Humphries (NJN) – 19
Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 18

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Monta Ellis (GSW), Chris Paul (LAC) & Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 12  

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Chris Singleton (WAS) – 5
Tyrus Thomas (CHA), Anderson Varejao (CLE), Steph Curry (GSW) & Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Tyrus Thomas (CHA) – 9
Darko Milicic (MIN) – 7
James Johnson (TOR) – 6

Tyrus Thomas's 9 blocks is the most yet in a
single game this season.
Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Steph Curry (GSW) – 6
Matt Bonner (SAS), Jimmer Fredette (SAC) & Kevin Martin (HOU) – 5

Jan. 25, 2012 First Five
C – Chris Bosh (MIA) – 27pts, 6rebs, 4asts, 1stl
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 31pts, 10rebs, 4 treys, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks
F – LeBron James (MIA) – 32pts, 7asts, 6rebs, 2stls
G – Deron Williams (NJN) – 34pts, 11asts, 4rebs, 3 treys
G – Steph Curry (GSW) – 32pts, 7asts, 6rebs, 6 treys, 4stls

It seems Chris Bosh is on a mission to silence
the critics who thought ill of him last year.

Honorable Mention:
Kevin Durant (OKC) – 25pts, 7rebs, 4asts, 3blks, 2stls
Paul Millsap (UTA) – 31pts, 11rebs, 2asts, 1stls, 1blks
Austin Daye (DET) – 28pts, 6rebs, 4 treys, 3asts, 1stl

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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