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Paul Pierce vs. Amir Johnson

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by William Rausch Comments

 

Paul Pierce, Amir Johnson

Amir Johnson vs. Paul Pierce is the most unorthodox matchup of the series. (AP)

By the numbers:

Paul Pierce: 75 G, 68 GS, 28.0 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, .451 FG%, .373 3P%, .826 FT%, 16.8 PER
Amir Johnson 77 G, 72 GS, 28.8 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG, .562 FG%, .303 3P%, .636 FT%, 15.4 PER

Breakdown

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It's hard to consider two teams rivals when they have no discernible provincial rivalry geographically, they have only met once in the playoffs -- in the first round, no less -- and they share a grand total of zero NBA titles.

But the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors are rivals of sorts, and it dates back to December 17, 2004, at 5:12 PM, according to Vince Carter himself (fast forward to around 4:30 in the video), when the Raptors first legitimate franchise player, Vince Carter, was traded to the Nets.

The trade created the big three of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter for the Nets, and a vociferous hatred of "half-man/half a game Carter" for Raptors fans even to this day. Vince didn't help his case when he admitted he had dogged it in Toronto. The hate-hate relationship between VC and Raptors fans lead to random games in November that ended in OT like this:

With that in mind, let's take a trip back to 2007 for a rewind, then through the four games the Nets & Raptors have played this season.

next-2

 

Look again. That's not Dr. J. (AP)

Look again. That's not Dr. J. (AP)

1974-1975 ABA Stats: 84 GP, 37.7 MPG, 18.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 50.9 FG%, 77.0 FT%
1974-1975 ABA Advanced: 54.1 TS%, 51.0 eFG%, 17.0 PER, 107 ORtg, 99 DRtg, 10.0 WS
All-Star Team? Yes
Team: 58-26, lost in first round to Spirits of St. Louis
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Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Nets & New York Knicks play at Barclays Center tonight. Here's a look back. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets made their much-anticipated move from the swamps of New Jersey to the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic last fall, and an instant NYC basketball rivalry with the Knicks was born. Both teams were also playoff-bound and relevant at the same time in the NBA for the first time since… well, ever, which added a little credibility and gravitas to the fledgling inter-city rivalry.
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Mason Plumlee, Josh Harrellson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

MAAAAAAASOOOOOONN (AP)

Nets rookie Mason Plumlee sat down with the blog Starting5 after the Nets 96-91 loss to the Indiana Pacers last Saturday. Despite the loss, Plumlee was "very pleasant" after playing 15 minutes, grabbing three boards and scoring a career-high six points on 3/5 shooting.
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Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez

Is this the best opening night lineup in Nets history? We investigate. (AP)


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Note: in honor of Jason Kidd's jersey retirement today, we're bringing this post back for the day. Enjoy the memories.

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd, introduced to the Nets on July 11, 2001. (AP)

On Monday June 3, 1924, famed German fiction author Franz Kafka died from tuberculosis in an Austrian sanatorium. Kafka received little fanfare for his dark, depressing literature during his lifetime, but rose to literary prominence after his death with the term “Kafkaesque” entering into the English vernacular describing surreal, illogical and nightmarish situations.

89 years later to the day, former New Jersey Nets point guard and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd retired from the game of basketball.

Unlike Kafka, Kidd was revered as an All-Time great in his chosen profession during his lifetime. To call the Nets NBA history prior to Kidd’s arrival in 2001 Kafkaesque might be hyperbolic, but it wasn’t pretty. When Kidd arrived in the swamps of Jersey, the Nets had won a grand total of one playoff series in 25 NBA seasons and had just completed a 26-56 sham of a season in 2000-01.

With a less-than-ideal supporting cast, Kidd took the Nets to their first two franchise NBA titles in his first two years in New Jersey, or, as Bill Simmons puts it, Kidd “turned chicken s--- into chicken salad.” In 6 1/2 seasons as a Nets guard, Kidd made five All-Star teams, three All-NBA teams, and led the NBA in assists twice en route to a total of nine playoff series victories.

For all these reasons Jason Kidd is the greatest Nets player of all time, at least to anyone not contributing to the impending baby boomer-driven social security crisis. In honor of his retirement, we have selected his five greatest moments as a Nets player. Some are fun, some are surreal, but none of them are depressing.

Start: 1 of 5

 

Play The BK Draft Game Today!

Jeff Withey

Jeff Withey (AP)

Vitals:
College: Kansas
Class: Senior
Height: 6'11"
Weight: 230
Wingspan: 7'3"

Per-game stats: 32 G, 30.9 MIN, 13.7 PTS., 8.5 REB, 3.9 BLK, 0.9 AST, 2.0 TOV, .580 FG%, .714 FT%, 2.1 FLS

Why should the Nets draft Jeff Withey? ... MORE →

 

Play The BK Draft Game Today!

Tony Mitchell

Tony Mitchell (AP)

Vitals:
College: North Texas
Class: Sophomore
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 236
Wingspan: 7'2.5"

Per-game stats: 32 G, 32.6 MIN, 13.0 PTS., 8.5 REB, 2.7 BLK, 0.8 AST, 2.7 TOV, .440 FG%, .287 3PT%, .675 FT%.

Why should the Nets draft Tony Mitchell?... MORE →

 

That quote regarding Jason Kidd’s hiring as Brooklyn Nets head coach -- just nine days after his retirement as a player -- was tweeted by Patrick Ewing Jr., Spanish league player and son of legendary Knicks center Patrick Ewing.

One of the “qualified coaches” Ewing is referring to is no doubt his father, who has spent nine of the past ten years as an assistant coach with the Rockets, Wizards and Magic, with no head coaching offers to show from it. On June 12, the Bobcats announced Ewing would be their associate head coach AKA an assistant coach with a glorified title.

But does Kidd need “experience”? Should he have to at least cut his teeth as an assistant for one season, as previous Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson did in Dallas? How have previous novice coaches in Kidd’s shoes done in the modern NBA?... MORE →

 

Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov (AP)

Russian billionaire playboy oligarch/Brooklyn Nets owner/heli-skiier/rapper/politician Mikhail Prokhorov received permission from the NBA to relocate the Nets ownership vehicle to Russia, a move that will allow him to comply with a new Russian law that bans some Russian officials from owning assets abroad. Prokhorov ran for Russian President while owner of the Nets in 2012 -- prior to the new laws regarding foreign assets -- losing to current Russian President Vladimir Putin by a wide margin.

"I received permission from the NBA to transfer the company that owns the Brooklyn Nets to a Russian company," Prokhorov said at the Thursday press conference. The Nets owner also said he received permission to move the ownership structure of Barclays Center to Russia. Neither move should have a significant impact on the operations of the Nets or arena.

Even with the permission, Prokhorov will not run for Mayor of Moscow as previously planned. At a June 13th press conference -- the same day the Nets announced Jason Kidd would be their new head coach -- Prokhorov said his Civil Platform party "will not participate in the procedure of prolonging the current mayor's license."

Prokhorov had planned to run for mayor in Fall of 2015, when current mayor Serei Sobyanin's term runs out. But Sobyanin announced last week that he is stepping down, triggering a special September election that Sobyanin will run in himself. The move is seen as a ploy by Sobyanin to extend his time in office by limiting his opponents' chance to campaign before the elections.

Read More: Transitions Online - - Prokhorov to Sit Out Moscow Mayoral Race 

Read More: The Wall Street Journal, Paul Sonne - - The Nets Are About To 'Move' To Russia 

 

The Brooklyn Nets will host their third pre-draft group workout (not including their major workouts in April) on Monday, June 27 at the PNY Center in Rutherford, New Jersey.

Working out for the Nets on Monday:... MORE →