Nets Rediscover Their Bench

Bench scoring gives Nets win over Magic in brief breather

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Brooks and his bench buddies carried the Nets on Monday.

    When discussing the first two-game losing streak of the P.J. Carlesimo era on Monday, we pointed out that starting Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans limits the offensive options available to the Nets. 

    You wouldn't expect that such things would be a problem when facing the lowly Magic, who came to Barclays Center on Monday night, but it didn't work out that way. The Nets starters were outscored by their opposite numbers from Orlando 63-46 with Wallace and Evans contributing seven points between them. 

    The Nets still wound up winning the game 97-77, however, which should tell you that the reserves played a starring role in Brooklyn. Keith Bogans hit four three-pointers and two guys who haven't been playing much at all combined for 13 points to help the Nets to an astounding 41-14 edge in bench points. 

    One of those lightly used players is second-year guard MarShon Brooks, who barely played when Avery Johnson was the coach and hasn't seen a dramatic rise in minutes since Carlesimo took over. Brooks scored eight points in 18 minutes on Monday after playing just 20 minutes and scoring two points in the previous four games. 

    Brooks' lack of playing time has been something of a head scratcher this season. Other than Deron Williams, the Nets sorely lack guys who can create offense all by themselves this season. 

    Brooks is erratic, but he can get the ball to the hoop without needing much more than a half-step on his defender, something he can create when defenses respect his shot enough to close down on his space on the outside. There might be nights when he winds up shooting the Nets out of games, but there are also going to be nights like Monday when his contributions wind up weighing heaviliy in a winning equation for the Nets. 

    Mirza Teletovic has gotten more minutes than Brooks this season, although not nearly the minutes we expected to see for a player blessed with a deadeye from the perimeter. His mere presence forces defenses to stretch out and defend more area, something that isn't the case when Wallace, Evans and Kris Humphries are on the court. 

    Neither player is going to impress you defensively, but the Nets have to get points from somewhere and it's especially important that they get those points early so that they can grind the pace of the game down to their preferred level in the second half. 

    With the schedule ramping back up again -- the Heat, Bulls and Lakers will visit in the next week -- the Nets are going to need to get the kind of across-the-board contributions they had against the Magic. Brooks and Teletovic should be part of that effort as long as the rest of the roster remains deficient in the skills they bring to the table. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.