“#Nets adjustments allowed Caris LeVert to dominate Wizards”
August 2, 2020 | 11:28pm
The decisions interim coach Jacque Vaughn made — both the calls he switched around, and the ones he stuck with — turned out better against the Wizards.
Caris LeVert had seen the ball blitzed and doubled out of his hands on Friday. This time, he kept the ball — and the game — in his hands and delivered a must-have 118-110 win over Washington that essentially sealed a playoff bid.
“Last game, they were doubling a lot and let that take me out of what I was doing,” LeVert admitted. “But [Sunday], going into the game I was like, ‘I’m not going to let that take me out of the game. I’m not going to let that take us out of what we’re trying to do.’ We figured it out. I’m going to go iso; I’m going to go [in] low and catch it. Sometimes in the post, sometimes at the top of the key.”
LeVert had 25 of his game-high 34 points in the second half, and 14 in the final 6:31 as the Nets closed on an 18-6 run. He waived off screens from Jarrett Allen, avoiding double-teams and dominating out of isolation. He also worked more in the post against Washington, taking advantage of his size and making plays.
“With teams starting to double, we’re trying to find easy ways to get the ball in space where they can’t really double as easily. That’s an easy spot to catch it in and go to work without using a lot of energy,” LeVert said. “Jacque has done a great job of working with me, and so has [assistant] Adam Harrington. I’ve been working with him a lot, as well.”
The game plan also called for Allen to protect the rim, even if that meant ceding 3-point opportunities for Thomas Bryant.
After Bryant had 18 first-half points on 7-for-9 shooting — including 4 of 5 from deep — the Nets stuck with the plan and saw him go 5-for-11 in the second and miss his lone 3.
“Obviously I want to protect the paint [and] I want to go out there and contest Bryant. It’s hard juggling the two; but I want to follow the game plan,” Allen said. “The game plan was for me to go and contest the shots at the rim and the guards to have my back to go get Bryant.
“Kudos to him: He shot the lights out. He really destroyed our game plan in the first half. But then in the second we stuck with our game plan, and it paid out in the end.”
Jamal Crawford (conditioning) was inactive and Donta Hall did not play.
“It’s a mutual conversation between Jamal and I and the performance team,” Vaughn said of Crawford, who worked out before the game and will get another workout Monday trying to get up to speed.
“Then we’ll continue to just have a conversation of where he is. And at the end of the day it’s definitely going to boil down to the competence and care for the athlete. We want him to feel comfortable, have that relationship feel comfortable with him producing on the floor.”
In its annual survey of the world’s 50 most valuable teams, Forbes ranked the Nets 38th at $2.5 billion. They were sixth in the NBA, with the Knicks leading the league at $4.6 billion.
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