By Cory Bernstein
After a brutal six game losing streak, the Nets are finally back on board with a win. The Raptors may not be the best team in the league, but they came into this game fully healthy and on a two game winning streak, something that could not be said about the Nets. With MarShon Brooks and Damion James out, this game could have been a seventh straight loss, but give the Nets some credit.
They played very solid defense despite not getting a block, and Mehmet Okur went down with back spasms after three minutes, meaning Johan Petro was prominently involved. Most importantly, Anthony Morrow showed that he is still an elite shooter, and like everyone else in the NBA he gets into a shooting slump every now and then.
Deron Williams 7.5 - D-Will had his best game of the season, scoring twenty four points, dishing out nine assists, and proving why he is an All-Star point guard. After not playing in Boston on Wednesday, Deron was healhty and dangerous in Toronto. For maybe the first time since last year's Boston win (The Pink Shirt kid game), Deron seemed healthy in a Net uniform. His cuts seemed faster, his shot looked smoother, and he was the floor general that the Nets traded for last February. Deron submitted a masterful performance, and I expect more of these going forward from one of the league's best guards.
Anthony Morrow 9.0 - Morrow was on fire with Toronto, scoring twenty four points and going six for ten from three point land. Morrow had been struggling mightily so far this season, but an extended amount of minutes (thirty four) allowed Morrow to take a lot of shots, and when watching it seemed like he made all of them. Do I want Morrow to shoot ten threes every game? No, absolutely not. But, if that was the medicine to cure Morrow's shooting woes, that is fine with me.
DeShawn Stevenson 5.5 - Getting a start last night, DeShawn did the same thing he has done all season, shoot threes. Stevenson took thirteen shots last night; twelve were from beyond the arc. Although he made five of them, Stevenson needs to expand his horizons on offense. He is a good shooter, but no Anthony Morrow. I'd like to see him drive a little bit more, and this should come with him getting into better shape as the season goes on. Or, he could have been resting tonight, licking his chops at the opportunity to kill LeBron James. Well, maybe that didn't happen, but keep an eye on DeShawn vs. LeBron, things may get heated.
Kris Humphries 6.0 - Hump got eighteen rebounds, en route to the Nets out-rebounding the Raptors 44-39. He only scored six points, but the rebounds are what is expected out of The Incredible Hump, not points.
Johan Petro 4.5 - Petro played excellent for Johan Petro, shooting just bad from the field (two for six), instead of atrocious, and grabbed a few rebounds (four). With the starting center out for two months, and the replacement center out with back spasms, Petro will get some more minutes in the next few days. Ladies and Gentlemen, run for the hills.
Shelden Williams 4.5 - He's better than Petro, but had a similar game last night. He had six points and five rebounds, and like Petro will see more minutes if Mehmet is out for a few games. If Shelden could make the occasional ten footer, he could be a valuable backup for the Nets in a season where injuries have destroyed any depth the Nets had.
Jordan Farmar 6.0 - It's amazing how the NBA works. On Monday, Jordan Farmar looked out of the rotation, and Sundiata Gaines was starting. A mere four days later, it's Farmar getting ten more minutes, and playing decisively better than Gaines. He scored ten points, made threes, and had no turnovers, something impressive for a point guard who struggles with dribbling like Farmar. I'm not his biggest fan, but that can be fickle if he plays like this every night.
Shawne Williams 4.0 - He was one of the few Nets who struggled last night, going only one for five from the field. He's going to see time by virtue of injuries, but he has really been struggling all season. Like Morrow, he should be back with time and shots, but hopefully that comes sooner than later, because the Nets need his unique size and shooting combination to win games.
Jordan Williams 5.0 - It was garbage time, but I liked what Williams did last night. He got some rebounds and made a bucket in ten minutes of play. I know I sound like a broken record, but Williams is going be thrown into a situation where he plays a lot of the next few games if Memo is out, and the former Terp can rise to the challenge and build on a solid performance for a rookie.
Get more great Nets analysis over at Brooklyn-Bound.