2nd Half Running Convo
By Tony Maglio
It’s Saturday afternoon I’m joined online by my buddy and fellow long time Nets fan, Crack. We’re going to have a running conversation via AOL Instant Messenger for the 2nd Half of the Nets/Cavaliers game. We’ll talk about the game as it transpires, some general Nets and NBA news and most likely touch on inside stuff that isn’t funny to anyone but us. I had to re-download AIM just for this, and boy does it look differently than I remember. One thing has not changed though - Crack has a very stupid avatar.
We come in at half time…
Tony (2:21:29 PM): Ok guys so I'm joined by my buddy Crack, another long-time Nets fan, for a running conversation during the 2nd Half of the Nets/Cavs game. We’re at the half: Cavs up 44-43. Crack, the Nets led by as many as nine points but gave it all back – what are your thoughts on the first half?
Crack (2:23:37 PM): Well, I’m glad to see the Nets get off to a hot start after their big win the other night to close out 2009. 1st Qtr they came out hot giving the ball inside to Brook and working off him. CDR had a couple easy scores on feeds from Brook and they were able to build a seven-point lead to end the quarter.
Tony (2:25:43 PM): But then unfortunately the Nets get outscored 25-17 in the 2nd Quarter in typical fashion and now are down at the half. Given the two opposite quarters - what do you think is more likely this afternoon: a Nets resurgence, or a total Cavs blowout?
Crack (2:27:39 PM): Yeah 2nd qtr is their normal letdown and LeBron was able to get the Cavs going with his scoring as well as his passing. The Cavs also realized for a couple plays in a row that no one can cover Shaq. As a Nets fan I want to say “Nets resurgence”. They are shooting a high percentage and keeping LeBron in check as much as a team can. CDR and Hassell have been able to keep him from going off which is a pleasant surprise
Tony (2:28:59 PM): Well Hassell kept LeBron in check by slashing him like Vega from “Street Fighter II”. Did you see those scratches on his arm? He looked like Roy after the tiger mauled him. I thought I was going to be a “Witness” to a homicide. What kind of fingernails is Hassell working with ?
Crack (2:30:03 PM): Yeah I did see that and I saw LeBron complaining about it for a good five minutes. But from the looks of it, it happened after the play. LeBron is a big guy. He should be able to walk that off.
Tony (2:32:24 PM): LeBron is definitely a baby, but when he went over to the trainer he looked like Randy “The Ram” Robinson after the extreme rules match in “The Wrestler”. If you haven’t gotten the point by now what I’m saying is that was a deep cut. Someone has to get Hassell a manicure; although if they did I suspect we’d discover that his nails look like Lloyd Christmas's from “Dumb & Dumber”. But speaking of NBA assaults - did you hear about the Gilbert Arenas gun incident?
Crack (2:33:59 PM): Haha yea Hassell needs a file or something. Maybe one of the Nets Dancers could hook him up. Yes I’ve heard about that all morning and every couple minutes during the game. I can’t imagine what could have occurred to pull a gun on a teammate. Not to mention why are you carrying a gun in your own locker room?
Tony (2:36:36 PM): At 10-21 I might pull a gun on all of my teammates; but then again look what team I write for. It was reported to be over an unpaid Arenas gambling debt. Which is ridiculous because Arenas gets paid $111 million to have knee surgery - he can afford to settle all debts. I think the “Agent 0” thing has gone to his head and he truly thinks he's Jack Bauer. Back to the game: We're a few minutes into the 3rd quarter, 52-47 Cavs. Sloppy start here for both teams.
Crack (2:38:34 PM): Yea I’m sure it was gambling because Arenas has nothing better to do from the bench but make ridiculous wagers. In typical Nets fashion, they forget that Brook Lopez should be the center of the offense and work through him. They just had a three-on-one that they can’t finish because LeBron makes a nice hustle play and the crowd goes crazy. You think there are more Cav fans or Nets fans in the Izod Center today?
Tony (2:41:43 PM): It's probably about 50/50, but if you're asking are there more LeBron jerseys or Nets jerseys, I'm sure its LeBron. Speaking of jerseys, you and I both hate the red (Nets) jerseys and want the blue back. But the worst jersey today is the embarrassing reversible ones that are being given away with Nets season ticket packages. I showed you that promo package: you get five jerseys that one side is a Nets player, and the other side is a star player from the opposing team like LeBron or Kobe. Is this the most pathetic promotion you've ever seen - giving away the jerseys of the OPPOSING TEAM??
Crack (2:43:24 PM): The Nets will try and do anything to get fans in, even if it’s to give away jerseys from other teams. I mean if you give me a reversible jersey that on one side is LeBron and the other side is Jarvis Hayes; I think I probably would be wearing the side that says “James” a little bit more.
Tony (2:45:55 PM): Maybe they should have altered the jersey to be one-side LeBron James, and the other side the sport jacket that Jarvis Hayes has worn on the bench all year. Back to the “action” (and I emphasize that in quotations because thus far this has been a pretty poorly played 3rd Quarter). Yi Jialian just hit two free throws. He has come back really strong from injury up until this game where he's struggling badly from the field, 1-9 so far. What do you value more - a Yi that can shoot from outside or the more aggressive Yi who is struggling with the jump-shot?
Crack (2:48:40 PM): I love the fact that Yi has been driving, but not at the expense of shooting the 3. He is one of maybe two or three Nets who can hit it consistently. The Nets need to at least give the impression they can make a “3”, and as a 7 footer out there, Yi can give the Nets a big advantage.
Tony (2:50:05 PM): Ok commercial break - so I'm going to let you make your case to all of the Nets fan base on a conversation we’ve had probably twice a week this season: Why should your boy Sean Williams be playing more, and in what capacity exactly?
Crack (2:52:19 PM): Sean Williams should not be a Nets starter, I like the Nets starting lineup now that they are all healthy but what exactly does Josh Boone do BETTER then Sean Williams??? Sean is a 1st rounder, a strong rebounder and shot blocker. He’s not going to give the Nets 20 points or anything like that but I can guarantee in 20 minutes a game he will get as many rebounds and add 2-3 blocked shots and between 5-10 points off put-backs.
Tony (2:54:27 PM): Well with a guarantee like that I don't see why he's inactive. I happen to agree with most of your points. There is no reason to leave a guy with his athleticism on the bench. He has more upside than Boone or Battie, and Yi is a defensive liability. Here we go with the Nets down 63-60, hanging in there but not doing anything particularly well. I get the impression we're in for a BIIIG 4th Quarter from LBJ, as he sinks 2 free throws with 1:55 left in the Third. What is your opinion on the Nets turning down the reported Nate Robinson/Darko Milicic for Rafer Alston/Tony Battie trade?
Crack (2:57:17 PM): Yea they’ve kept LBJ in check but hell end up with over 30 easily. I don’t think there is anyway the Nets would have actually turned that down. There is too much upside in that trade. Darko has been better (when he gets playing time) and we all saw Nate's 41 point performance the other night after not playing for weeks. I like Rafer but with Dooling healthy, he now becomes the 3rd point guard. As for Battie, I like him but with the Nets obsession with Josh Boone, he just doesn’t get the minutes. The Nets need a guard who can take over the game and right now they just don’t have one. Nate could do it. Tracy McGrady could do it. They need to get someone in to replace the scoring and take over ability that has been void since Vince was around.
Tony (3:00:42 PM): I agree. As you know I thought T-Mac would be a perfect fit for the final 2/3rds of the season. Why not if you could get him for next to nothing? Funny T-Mac aside: I was shopping for new basketball sneakers - the entire Dick’s Sporting Goods clearance rack were T-Mac’s shoes. How difficult must it be to market the sneaker of the most injury prone player in the NBA? That would be like selling a Troy Aikman series football helmet. But with regards to this trade rumor, you know I hate Nate Robinson - but the Nets need someone would can score and that's his entire game. I can take or leave Darko, he's had several chances to revive his career and he hasn't - but where is the risk? If it's all expiring contracts they could sign you and me at this point and no one would notice. Speaking of which, you can shoot a little bit: How many of the Nets could you beat in a game of H-O-R-S-E, assuming you had a weekend to get back into it?
Crack (3:03:04 PM): There is no risk. We wouldn’t be giving up any of the starters and we could live without both in the rotation. Haha, well if you give me a little to get back into it and dunking was not allowed, I could confidently say I could probably beat almost half the Nets. Dooling and Harris might be able to shut me out, and if T-Will shoots like he thinks he can (see Nets game program), then I’d be in trouble.
Tony (3:03:52 PM): 69-61 to start the 4th Quarter as Yi badly misses another jumper, 1-10. He's shot worse from outside 15 feet than I did at open gym on Tuesday. I’m hoping this is just a legs/rust issue, which again, was my excuse on Tuesday night. A Cavs hoop and now the Nets are down double digits.
Crack (3:04:40 PM): Typical Nets game being played out here: big 1st qtr: 26 points, then 17 in the 2nd and 18 in the 3rd. Get the ball to Brook!!!
Tony (3:05:19 PM): Yep, Lopez totally disappearing from action. LBJ cruising to a quiet good game - Nets down 12 now. Speaking of H-O-R-S-E, at the end of the season I think I'm going to take Caity to the gym and see if with a little instruction, on 50 attempts she can top Josh Boone's season FT %.
Crack (3:06:31 PM): Lopez numbers: 20 points 4 boards but most of that was 1st half action. LeBron is going to end up when this game is finished, in a Cavs win mind you, close to a triple-double once again. He is an unstoppable force. And my money is on Caity.
Tony (3:09:39 PM): I’m sure she appreciates your confidence. We saw the All-Star voting before. You know I hate the fact that fans vote for All-Stars in the NBA and MLB because it creates ridiculous situations like Allen Iverson and T-Mac not only making the team but possibly starting. If either of those guys deserves All-Star nods, than this chat blog deserves the Pulitzer. In your opinion, is Brook an All-Star, and secondly, will he get voted in?
Crack (3:12:41 PM): Is Brook an All-Star Center in the Eastern Conference right now? No. Will he be? Yes, but in about 2 years. He just doesn’t have the following, popularity or numbers that some of the other centers in the Easter Conference have to get in. Shaq will get in, and Dwight Howard of Orlando is the starter. Brook is a top five center right now probably - but not enough people know it.
Tony (3:14:21 PM): Do you like to answer questions with rhetorical questions? Yes. I think Brook's the All-Star behind Dwight, but he I agree that he probably won't get in based on the record. Back to the game: CDR with a great finish high off the glass, Nets down 8 though after Shaq hits two free throws. You know it's a bad sign when Shaq makes a pair in a big spot in the 4th Quarter. Do u think the Shaq signing makes the Cavs better or worse?
Crack (3:16:40 PM): Its nice to see the Nets not letting this game get away thought. It’s the 4th Qtr and time to get going. I think Shaq makes the Cavs better because he takes a little of the pressure off LBJ, even if it is just by being another “name” as opposed to his actual effectiveness. A year ago, when you played the Cavs all you worried about was LeBron - but now Shaq gives opposing coaches someone else to think about. Do you think the Nets can make a little run here and possibly come back?
Tony (3:19:21 PM): In short, no. Longer - no effing way. For a really bad team to beat a really good team - several great things have to happen for them and right now no one is having a big enough game. I'd like to see it happen, but the Nets haven't proved that they can finish yet. And more specifically in this game, they cannot keep Shaq and Varejo off the glass on either end. They also don't shoot well enough to also be a poor rebounding team. You can't come back when you can't shoot. LBJ with a huge stuff with 4:20 left - he's not letting this game get away, 83-77 Cavs.
Crack (3:20:24 PM): Yeah they are just being out-rebounded way too much. Yi needs to get in there. Varejo is doing what he gets paid to do. But LeBron isn’t closing yet. He’s missed a couple jumpers and CDR is making. This could get interesting
Tony (3:21:23 PM): Jump Ball: Ilgauskas vs. CDR. Should the Nets PA system really be playing "Jump" by House of Pain when Z doesn’t jump more than three inches off the floor? Regardless he wins it and Gibson hits a huge 3. The Nets slop it up on the offensive end with a bad rejection, Lopez falling and losing his dribble and LeBron finishing an amazing continuation basket on the other end - this game is over.
Crack (3:23:09 PM): LBJ with the longest continuation I have ever seen. I think the foul was at mid-court. Cavs now up 11 with less than three minutes left. Lets get T-Will and Dooling in the game along with Harris, Brook and Yi and see if we can’t make a couple 3's.
Tony (3:23:56 PM): We can’t. While we have a commercial before LeBron completes this inevitable 3 point play - do you want LBJ on the Nets next year, and what percentage do u give it as a realistic possibility?
Crack (3:25:03 PM): Do I want him on the Nets? Of course I do. Who wouldn’t want someone like him on their team? He’d be the dominant scorer the Nets need. As far as possibility, I would almost say 20%. I think they have a chance but not too much. I see him re-signing with the Cavs. What do you think?
Tony (3:26:20 PM): I think you like to answer questions with questions. But I agree, he's not leaving the Cavs. I'd take him of course, but you know I want Wade and Boozer. More importantly - you saw the strength of LBJ finishing that last play. How many of our friends, if we attacked him at once with a decent strategy, would be needed to beat up LeBron?
Crack (3:27:57 PM): First, Wade and Boozer would be nice. I could see them landing Wade and Bosh maybe. The Nets need to make a splash in the off-season. As for your second question; I would say a good five to ten of us. He’s a big man and we do not have too many big friends. We talk a good game but I think LBJ would get the best of us.
Tony (3:29:27 PM): See, I think four of us could take him if we really fought with a purpose. So long as we were aggressive together and didn’t fight him one-on-one like the “Step By Step” episode where Frank and Cody beat up the entire biker bar because some guy was messing with Dana. One minute left, Nets down by 13 after a beautiful no-look pass from James to Varejo. This is where we need T-Mac to score those 13 points in 35 seconds.
Crack (3:30:01 PM): You think Reggie Miller would want to come out of retirement real quick to go off?
Tony (3:30:04 PM): After that LeBron James waved-off rejection, make it six of us. And I think we would take Sheryl Miller at this point. Speaking of which, David Stern said something like in ten years you'll see a woman in the NBA. Now, since I'm interviewing you and I don’t want to sway you with a biased-sounding question: What do you think of that ridiculously stupid comment?
Crack (3:31:51 PM): Well they also said the same thing with a woman in the NFL - it’s never going to happen. That is why there is the WNBA. Put it in the books. The Nets start 2010 with a loss.
Tony (3:32:54 PM): Hold on – there’s a women’s professional basketball league??? And who said that about the NFL? “Unnecessary Roughness”? That was a movie. A bad, bad movie. Plus I think that was college anyway. Well game over, as the Nets finish average across the board and lose 94-86. The announcers seem to think there are a lot of positives to be taken from this loss, but I’m not sure I agree. What do you think 2010 will bring for the Nets as compared to 2009?
Crack (3:33:34 PM): Nets finished better than I thought with 25 points in the 4th qtr, but once again they cant keep it together for a full four quarters. I think it will be the same as 2009. Kiki made a comment that the "easy" part of the schedule has come and gone. If 2009 was the easy part and they were only able to pull three wins than I truly, and this is hard to say, see the Nets NOT winning 10 games.
Tony (3:35:58 PM): Yeah a good start and a decent finish, but unfortunately that's why they play four quarters. We’ll get into the historical significance of this season another time. Thanks for joining us Crack and I’ll have Sebastian pass on your Sean Williams guarantee to the coaching staff. For now I need to go Tweet nasty post-game things about the Nets players – no wait, that’s Terrence Williams.