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GAME GRADES: Nets (including R.J.) get high marks in Cleveland win

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Jersey Nets, Game 6 Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images


The Nets snap a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland, beating the Cavs 102-86.


Grade: A-

The Nets looked like a team coming off four days of rest. They played energized, confident, and were in-tune to the little things. D’Angelo Russell led the charge for the Nets with his best performance of the season, but across the board, things were rolling for Brooklyn. Jared Dudley and Joe Harris seemed to not miss behind the arc, Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis dominated the paint, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Shabazz Napier were healthy and effective in their season debuts. Now 2-2 on the season, this was a game the Nets should have won. It’s good to see them take care of business.

D’ANGELO RUSSELL (18 points, 8 assists, 1 rebounds – 5/14 in 27 minutes)

Grade: B+

Russell put together his best game of the early season. DLo played in control and in command, a theme early on in his season. Not only did Russell finally get it going with his shot tonight, but he was engaged defensively and operated the offense beautifully; finishing the night with an outstanding 8:1 assist to turnover ratio. Now, we wait for a game where D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert thrive together!

CARIS LEVERT (10 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds – 5/12 in 32 minutes)

Grade: C+

LeVert took a step back tonight. Early on, he looked out of control and off balance, a sight reminiscent of his first two years in the league. Whereas he played the first three games at his pace, LeVert seemed to get sped up by the competition against Cleveland. In the second half, LeVert looked to ease in a bit, looking much more comfortable and effective. Tonight was surely just a blip on the radar for LeVert, as he’s still poised for a breakout season, but regardless, it was not his best performance.

SPENCER DINWIDDIE (8 points, 1 assists, 3 rebounds – 3/6 in 21 minutes)

Grade: B-

Spencer Dinwiddie was there tonight? In a game where many of his teammates took over the story line, Dinwiddie flew under the radar, which might be a good thing. Dinwiddie was efficient, even if quiet, shooting a respectable 50 percent from the floor. This is the type of game Dinwiddie should play. In control, running the offense, not freelancing a ton; he provided a nice boost off the bench tonight. With Shabazz Napier now in the fold, expect Dinwiddie’s minutes to decrease ... slightly.

JARRETT ALLEN (10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block – 5/9 in 27 minutes)

Grade: B

Solid, yet unspectacular performance tonight from the Nets’ second-year center. Given the difficult task of matching up with the Cavaliers strong frontcourt duo of Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, Allen held his own, doing his best to minimize Cleveland’s effect on the glass. Once again, Allen played his role well.

JOE HARRIS (16 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 threes – 6/9 in 27 minutes)

Grade: A

Joe Harris is such a good player to have on your side. Plays his role, high-IQ, and brings toughness. Harris might be the most consistent player on the team. After struggling in the opener, Harris has now connected on twelve of his last fifteen threes! The league better take notice, Harris is a top five three-point specialist.

ED DAVIS (10 points, 10 rebounds – 4/6 in 17 minutes)

Grade: A

We’re starting to see why Ed Davis was so beloved in Portland. The guy is a player and doesn’t need a lot of time (or touches) to make an impact. In a first half where the Nets struggled to finish easy bunnies at the rim, Davis acted as a garbage man, rebounding everything within reach. In just seventeen minutes, Davis notched a double-double tonight. With Allen and Davis, the Nets are getting tremendous production out of the center spot to start the season. Great acquisition, Sean Marks!

ALLEN CRABBE (0 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound – 0/7 in 18 minutes)

Grade: C

The Nets have high hopes for Crabbe in his second year with the team, but he is just not getting it done to start the season. Obviously, he’s a shooter that needs to get into rhythm following an injury, but Joe Harris has proven to be a whole lot more effective and consistent. Crabbe needs to get it going for the Nets.

JARED DUDLEY (12 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 threes – 4/5 in 24 minutes)

Grade: A-

Jared Dudley is proving he’s more than a salary dump. Dudley was off to a hot start, taking advantage of the open looks created for him next to D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert. A career 40 percent three-point shooter, Dudley has proven to be a weapon when his feet are set behind the arc. We’ve always known Dudley can shoot, but where he has been most surprising is on the defensive end. Through the first four games, Dudley has taken the challenge of guarding two all-star forwards, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. Dudley has proven capable and has done a nice job quarterbacking the Nets defense.

RONDAE HOLLIS-JEFFERSON (8 points, 8 rebounds – 3/10 in 21 minutes)

Grade: B

It’s easy to see how much of an impact RHJ has on the Nets; they are a different team with “The Hyphen.” Hollis-Jefferson looked back to his normal self, slashing to the rim with ease, crashing the glass hard, and getting his hands on every loose ball in sight. Not the best shooting line tonight, but it’s great to see RHJ back in the lineup.

SHABAZZ NAPIER (8 points – 3/6 in 15 minutes)

Grade: B+

In his Nets debut, Napier showed the impact he can have. A bench sparkplug, a defensive igniter, a thorn in the other team’s side, Napier can wear a lot of different hats. He seemed to fit well against the rest of the Nets as the integration was seamless. Good first impression for the former Husky.


Grade: A+

As one Nets fan pointed out on Twitter, the YES Network might have found their Tony Romo. ‘R.J.” was great in his color debut, provided great analysis, unique insight, and unparalleled humor throughout the broadcast. Bonus points for the Knicks dig. Jefferson’s next broadcast will be at Madison Square Garden next Tuesday when the Nets visit the Knicks. In a night of positives, Jefferson might have been the biggest star.