New Jersey Nets vs. Washington Wizards: 10 Things We Learned from Nets Win

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IDecember 26, 2011

New Jersey Nets vs. Washington Wizards: 10 Things We Learned from Nets Win

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    It looked like the New Jersey Nets were dead in the dirt midway through the second quarter until Deron Williams came back into the game and brought them back.

    Early on, I thought about the lack of positives that would come out of this game, but instead, the win showed many positives.

    And here they are.

Deron Williams Is the Heart and Soul of This Team

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    Not that I needed to tell you this, but Williams is the heart and soul of this team.

    He knocked down some big shots and his re-entrance into this game in the second quarter sparked the Nets comeback.

    Not to mention, he was their leading scorer, putting up 23 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

Kris Humphries Has Potential to Be a Double Threat

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    Kris Humphries became well-known for his ability to rebound last season, but we didn't know he could put up points as well.

    Humphries put up his expected rebound total, grabbing 16 boards. As a bonus, Humphries scored 21 points and contributed offensively to the Nets win.

    The Wizards aren't exactly the Boston Celtics defensively, but Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee are no slouches in the paint.

Damion James Can Do the Dirty Work

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    Damion Jones may not be shooting for high percentages and taking games over, but he is certainly a presence on the floor.

    It seemed James was all over the place, making sound defensive decisions and hitting the glass hard with 14 rebounds.

    If he can slow himself down offensively and contribute, he could be a very talented, all-around player.

    Until then, James will be the guy doing the dirty work when New Jersey has their better offensive players on the floor.

Some NBA Referees Stink

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    The officials didn't have their best game out there in this one.

    A few situations occurred where the zebras needed to converse on a call, even over-turning one of them. Then, a terrible call later in the game happened that kept the possession alive for New Jersey on a fast break when clearly, the ball was out on them.

    If the referees continue at this pace, there will be plenty of complaints and even more fines by NBA players and coaches.

The Nets Are Resilient

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    After falling down by 20 in the second quarter, it would be easy for a team of limited talent like the Nets to give up and call it a night, blaming it on rust and a short preseason.

    But that wasn't the case for Avery Johnson's squad. They scratched and clawed their way back into this game, ultimately taking the win in the season opener.

    It was certainly an impressive comeback, showing a sign of heart in this team.

Sundiata Gaines Is a Spark

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    Coupled with Williams' re-entry into the game in the second quarter, Sundiata Gaines contribution was just as important.

    It just seemed Gaines changed the tempo of the game and gave the Nets some flexibility on the floor.

    Gaines enabled Williams to move to the 2, which gave him a rest on the defensive side of the ball and also allowed New Jersey to free-up their best scorer.

    Look for some good things off the bench from Gaines this season as his role is so important in giving Williams a blow during games in this compressed NBA season.

Good Defensive Effort Down the Stretch

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    When they needed to most, the Nets showed up defensively to help take this game.

    It's easy to pay attention to the offensive side of the ball with Humphries and Williams, but New Jersey's defense put this game away.

    After a fast start, the Nets subdued Washington's offense and in the fourth quarter, they held the Wizards to 17 points. Pretty impressive effort against a team who has the amount of shooters Washington has.

Nets Need to Practice Three-Point Shooting

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    At 6-for-24, the Nets' 25 percent from beyond the arc was less than desirable. At one point, New Jersey was 1-for-13 from the outside before finishing 5-for-11 to end the game.

    If the Nets are going to shoot that many three pointers, they better start making them. Too many long rebounds were created for Washington which was a major cause of the Nets' poor start and big initial deficit.

    They may want to take a few extra three pointers at practice this week.

Nets Can Create Second-Chance Opportunities

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    With a poor 40 percent from the field, New Jersey certainly had plenty of chances for offensive rebounds and they made the most of those chances.

    The Nets out-rebounded the Wizards 19 to 10 on the offensive glass. That is undoubtedly the best way to combat a bad shooting night.

    Without all those offensive rebounds, one can only imagine how ugly this game might have gotten.

Humphries Will Get Booed Wherever He Goes

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    Since when has Humphries done anything to piss off Wizards fans? If you guessed nothing, you're right.

    But his marriage to Kim Kardashian has given NBA fans across the country a reason to hate the guy, which is quite understandable.

    If Humphries is getting booed in Washington, it's clear that'll be the case wherever he goes.

    Thanks, Kim.