MIL@NJN 2.28.08

Harris Sparkles, As Bucks Stopped Here!

By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive

Nets 120, Milwaukee 106

East Rutherford, NJ, Feb. 28 — The Nets had six players reach double-figures as they put up a season-high 120 points to throttle the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at IZOD. Coming off victories against both Detroit and Cleveland of late, the Bucks were confident that they could take New Jersey. That was not to be, however, as the Nets got big production from the point (32p, 13a, 6r, 3s), that they haven\’t seen in ages [okay, since Jason soured on the swamp!], to win going away in impressive fashion.

Tonight, both the incumbent starting PG Marcus Williams and current reserve PG Devin Harris played extremely well. Floor General Marcus calmly orchestrated the team to success with 11 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, two steals, a pair of three-pointers and no turnovers in thirty minutes.

PG Devin Harris, on the other hand, dazzled off the bench in his long-awaited debut, leading the Nets with some 21 points and five assists in only 21 brief minutes to spark the Nets. He put on a show with some 3-pointers from beyond-the-arc and coast-to-coast jams.

That one-two punch of Devin and Marcus inspired the entire team to put on an entertaining offensive show that culminated in a high-scoring victory. The Bucks could not answer.*

The parade of strong performances didn\’t stop there, however. SG Vince Carter (19p), SF Richard Jefferson (19p), C Josh Boone (14p, 7r), reserve SF Boki Nachbar (13p on 4-of-5 including three from beyond the arc), C DeSagana Diop (9p, 6r, 2s & 1b in 20 minutes) and SF Stromile Swift (4p, 7r) all contributed in a team effort that led to the rousing victory.

One of the big differences in this game, though, was the explosive scoring of Devin Harris off the bench at the point that helped the Nets pull away for a double-digit lead early in the first half which they rode to ultimate victory. The aforementioned one-two punch of Devin and then Marcus, with their contrasting styles that opponents must accont for at all times, will really help open the floor for the Nets\’ other scorers.

The combined quickness, penetration, scoring and passing ability of this youthful tandem will be a real asset to a team that had grown a little \’long in the tooth\’ before Devin\’s arrival. No longer will teams be able to key exclusively on Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson any more without paying a price. The wings will be free to attack the rim with reckless abandon again.

Just like splitting the 96 minutes at the C/PF positions between three (or more) bigs, the Nets could split the 96 minutes at the SG/PG slots three ways between Vince, Devin and Marcus. Devin could move to the off-guard when Marcus is on the floor because he\’s more of a scoring combo-guard than Marcus. Marcus\’ court vision and passing skills make him more of a pure point.

Once again, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Boki Nachbar got into the flow of this game and really helped the Nets put on their showtime production. Marcus seemed to put passes to Boki where he liked them as Nachbar lit it up in the final stanza for all of his 13 points – including one big trey after the other – to help close out the game.

Statistically speaking, the Nets as a whole passed the ball better (25 assists to 19 for Milwaukee) and outshot the Bucks from beyond-the-arc at a higher clip making 11-of-23 (.478), compared to only 4-of-12 (.333) for Milwaukee. The Nets also took better care of the ball turning it over only 7 times [probably a season low] to the Bucks\’ 15.

The best part of it all, though, was that the Nets\’ defense was good enough in stretches to make all the shooting exploits stand up. The Nets adhered to \”the best defense is a good offense\” philosophy the rest of the time.

The Nets now face a brutal remaining schedule against some of the better teams the league has to offer for the balance of the 24 games left before season\’s end. The Nets might be lucky to split those last 24 without the impact Devin can provide. He is the all-important X-factor that could significantly affect what could be a seventh straight playoff appearance for this proud Nets\’ franchise.

Devin\’s debut couldn\’t have come a moment sooner as the Nets now move on to host the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, March 2 at IZOD Center for, perhaps, the stiffest test the team will face thus far. The game gets underway at 6:00pm EST and will be broadcast on YES Network. Be there!

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2005-2008 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at

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