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Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics: Grading Brooklyn's Performance

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2013

Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics: Grading Brooklyn's Performance

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    The Brooklyn Nets sat all five of their projected starters on Wednesday night, so it's not surprising that they fell to the Boston Celtics, 101-97, in their penultimate preseason game.  

    With Paul Piece, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson all absent, the Nets looked out of sorts offensively, shooting 41.6 percent from the field and just 26.1 percent from three. 

    Brooklyn was also out-rebounded by a margin of 10 boards and lost the battle of points in the paint, 44-30. 

    And while it wasn't a particularly pretty game from a collective standpoint, several individuals put forth respectable performances that are worth mentioning. 

     

Point Guard: Shaun Livingston

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    The man who will be tasked with leading the Brooklyn Nets' second unit during the upcoming season is free-agent signee Shaun Livingston, who's been one of, if not the most impressive Nets player in the preseason. 

    And while Livingston's numbers don't jump off the page (nine points and five assists), he moved the ball effectively in the half court, ensuring that the team's offense didn't get stagnant. 

    Livingston also looked to attack the paint on a number of occasions, and he proved to be fully capable of driving past Celtics point guard Phil Pressey to create shots for himself or dish to cutting teammates in the lane. 

    It's a pleasure to see Livingston back in a full-time rotational role after his career was temporarily derailed by a gruesome knee injury, and his renewed speed and burst should make him an unsung contributor on a star-studded Nets team. 

     

    Grade: A-

Shooting Guard: Jason Terry

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Jason Terry made his Brooklyn Nets debut on Wednesday night, and did so in a starting role that will be occupied by Joe Johnson when the regular season tips off. 

    The former Boston Celtic appeared rusty at times, passing into traffic and nearly committing turnovers on several occasions, but his value was evident, particularly on the perimeter. 

    Terry helped open up the Nets offense on the wing, knocking down three of seven shots (1-of-5 from three) en route to seven points while doling out three assists. 

    A year removed from one of the most disappointing seasons of his career, Terry will be looking to make his presence felt as a three-point specialist and catch-and-shoot maven off of the Nets' bench. 

     

    Grade: C

Small Forward: Alan Anderson

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Alan Anderson came out firing, scoring the Brooklyn Nets' first five points, including a fall-away jumper on which he was fouled and subsequently dropped in three the old-fashioned way.  

    He was unable to sustain that pace throughout, but Anderson was relatively steady thanks to 7-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line and finished with 11 points. 

    Considering the buzz that surrounded big offseason acquisitions such as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko, Anderson's move to Brooklyn understandably flew under the radar. 

    However, if Wednesday night was any indication, Anderson could be an invaluable piece of Jason Kidd's bench mob as the rookie head coach searches for ways to keep his key vets fresh throughout the season. 

     

    Grade: B

Power Forward: Mason Plumlee

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    It wasn't a pretty outing for the rookie out of Duke University. 

    While Mason Plumlee did flash the athleticism that made him an intriguing talent entering the 2013 NBA draft at times, he looked rather slow on several defensive rotations and was rarely involved in the offense. 

    His struggles were particularly evident in the first half, when Vitor Faverani torched him to the tune of 11 points and five rebounds. 

    In a rocky outing, Plumlee managed five points, nine rebounds, three steals and a block in 29 minutes of action. He's going to hustle when he's in, but Plumlee is facing a steep learning curve. 

    Although he was solid on the glass, Plumlee made it abundantly clear that he has plenty to improve upon during a low-pressure season in which he will be asked to develop and tailor his skill set to the pro game. 

     

    Grade: C

Center: Andray Blatche

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    One of the league's best reserve big men a year ago, Andray Blatche continued to prove his worth with a solid outing on Wednesday night. 

    Blatche turned heads early and often, launching four treys in the first half, and actually buried one of them (his first attempt) from the left wing. But the fun didn't stop there.

    Blatche quickly grew to love the three, attempting six total while canning two of them. 

    As a point of reference, Blatche attempted just 22 threes last season and made three, shooting 13.6 percent from beyond the arc. 

    And while it was certainly entertaining, don't expect that low-percentage shot to become a staple of Blatche's game throughout the season. 

    The 27-year-old also flashed versatility on the offensive end, passing well out of the high post when multiple Celtics converged on him. 

    However, he wasn't exactly efficient from the floor, converting on just 33 percent of his field-goal attempts in 24 minutes of run. 

    On the evening, Blatche scored 14 points, pulled down five rebounds and blocked a shot. 

     

    Grade: B+

Sixth Man: Tyshawn Taylor

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    Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    Tyshawn Taylor stole the show at the end of the first quarter, racking up six points as he continually attacked the paint and took defenders off the dribble. 

    It's well-established that playing time will be hard to come by for the second-year point guard this season with Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston ahead of him on the depth chart, but it was encouraging to see that Taylor was dedicated to high-percentage looks during his 27 minutes on the floor. 

    Pitching in a steal and three assists to go with a team-high 15 points, Taylor put together a respectable performance that should should earn him some brownie points with head coach Jason Kidd and Nets fans alike. 

     

    Grade: A-

Bench

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Although each of the Nets' starters on Wednesday will come off of the bench during the regular season, there was one reserve, in particular, who stood out. 

    Reggie Evans was his usual, scrappy self, banging bodies and disrupting the flow of play on the blocks to the tune of 11 points and eight rebounds.

    He was also in regular-season form when it came to chastising the referees, picking up a technical foul in the second quarter.

    And believe it or not, Evans actually scored a team-high eight points in the first half. 

    The Nets' bench totaled 51 points, with Mirza Teletovic and Chris Johnson chipping in 12 and six points, respectively. 

    Teletovic was trigger-happy, as always, but managed to hit on 44.4 percent of his field-goal attempts and 40 percent of his threes. 

     

    Grade: B+

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