So the move finally got made. I am a little shocked by the timing, but like I said in my last post, since it was already leaked, no sense in letting Lawrence Frank hang. Again, quoting Wojnarowski's article:
Sources said Nets management had come to believe that Frank had lost much of the team, a fact that has played out in losses to Denver and Sacramento in the past week. Once the Nets played so poorly against the Kings – believed to be the most winnable game on the trip – management decided it could no longer go on with Frank as coach.
Despite the return of point guard Devin Harris(notes) and shooting guard Courtney Lee(notes), the Nets have played long stretches of uninspired basketball. “Most of the guys have tuned him out,” one source with direct knowledge of the locker room environment said. “This isn’t all Lawrence’s fault, but everyone knows that this can’t go on anymore.”
It makes sense when you think about it, but why the sudden change in effort? The Nets have been giving plenty of effort until the Denver game. Now, I have no inside information, but here a few guesses from me.
- The puzzling roster moves - As a player, when you see a coach putting your team in strange situations, and in positions to fail (like going small in Denver for example), you may not go hard for him.
- The losing - Losing doesn't effect some people, but you can tell it does bother this team. CDR and others wear their emotion on their sleeves and the combination of losing and hearing the same voice over and over can prove to be too much.
Anyway, I know I have been very critical (maybe too critical) of Lawrence Frank in the past, but I do want to wish him luck, and I think we all know he will get another coaching job soon. As for tonight, let's see if the Nets completely crumble without Frank, or if they go all out, trying to get a win for their fallen coach. Here are the lineups:
Devin Harris vs. Derrick Fisher:
In the second half of the Sacramento game, you saw the Devin Harris of old. He was getting to the rim and drawing contact. He wasn't making his layups, but that will come in time. It does look like he has his quickness back though, and against Derrick Fisher that will be a huge advantage.
Advantage: Devin Harris
CDR vs. Kobe
Along with Brook Lopez, CDR has been the only one showing any fight the last couple of games. His work is going to be cut out for him, on both ends. Kobe is a lot better defender than he gets credit for, and he will be hassling CDR all night. Plus with Courtney probably still not at 100% (only 3 minutes last game), he will be defending Kobe most of the night.
Trenton Hassell vs. Ron Artest
This is actually a somewhat favorable matchup for Trenton since Ron is a guy who likes to use his strength rather than his quickness. Trenton Hassell can and will bang with Artest. It won't be enough to stop him completely, but it should slow him down a bit.
Advantage: Ron Artest
Josh Boone vs. Pau Gasol
Boone had a very good game against Sacramento, though it probably won't continue tonight. The reason that Boone was successful is because the Kings' frontcourt while big, wasn't very athletic and Josh Boone was able to hang with them. Pau is a big guy who can move around and can hit from outside of the lane. Josh Boone is going to be in trouble tonight:
Advantage: Pau Gasol
Brook Lopez vs. Andrew Bynum
I scored 12 points on Andrew Bynum once. Well, not on him, but my high school played his (St. Joe's Metuchen) on my senior night, and I hit four threes. We played him again in our conference playoffs, and he responded by blocking one of my runners into the crowd. Brook Lopez is going to give Bynum some payback tonight!
Advantage: Brook Lopez
Current Record: 9-7
So the Lakers will win, that isn't a question, but I think the Nets' players aren't going to like reading that they gave up on their coach. They are going to come out hard and will keep it closer than most expect it to be.