Though much of the fan reaction was negative, there were some thoughtful messages from some fans suggesting that losing Paul Pierce might turn out just fine:

Frank Fallon:
No one likes change but long ball is gone. It left the day we traded Kidd. That meant that Pierce and Livingston no longer had a place on this team. Everything Pierce brought as a PF can be replicated by Mirza. The are both stretch 4s who shoot 3 pointers well while struggling on defense and rebounding. The differnce being that Mirza brings more size and improving skills while Pierce is a declining player with inadequate size. Pierce is even easier to replace at SF. The Nets best player, Joe Johnson, is going to start at SF. Bogdanovic also plays a similar game too Pierce but with more upside.

Lucky for the Nets that they have a stable of good 7-footers. Lopez, Garnett and Plumlee are all very good players who bring three completely different playing styles. Lopez is the last of a dying breed, a true low post Center. KG is still very good on defense and capable of spacing the floor offensively. Plumlee is a pick and roll big who is at his best when he gets momentum moving towards the rim. I think we will see both KG and Plumlee playing a lot of PF this year to match up with the new, big lineups in the East. Kirilenko and Mirza will also be options at PF when the Nets want to play small.

All in all I think the Nets are having a very good off season.

Hollins is an upgrade over Kidd.

Jack is an upgrade over Livingston espcially with Kidd gone.

A healthy Lopez will more then make up for the loss of Blatche

DWill finally got ankle surgery. It shouldnt be hard for him to improve on last year.

Kirilenko played hurt for pretty much the entire season. I expect him to also bounce back.

Markel Brown looks like he will add athleticism and defense to our rotation

Bogdanovic is 25 years old and should be able to hit the ground running.

Mirza and Plumlee should both be a year better and more improved

And most importantly, Joe Johnson finally stepped up into the primary role in the playoffs. He has finally found his nitch on this team.

Christopher Vega:
Everybody keeps talking about what the nets are losing with Kidd, Pierce, livingston, blatche and so on BUT look what were adding. A real defensive minded coach in hollins who is a proven no nonsense winner, Jack, karasev, a healthy brook lopez, a healthy Dwill(god willing), Markel brown who looks like a steal in the second round( traded 3 of our 1st round picks but we got a gm who seems to know how to work the draft), bojan bogdonavich ( who ppl keep saying is a top 5 pick in the past draft if he were in it). Every expert last year said the KG and pierce were not gonna be enough for nothing most so called experts had the nets not in the playoffs or not making it past the first round. Ill reserve judgement, The nets are a good team and capable of doing better then last year!

Greg Madhere:
The nets were definitely more exciting to watch last year despite the slow start. However, I'm glad they are not going down the path of the Knicks who tend to wait far too long to shed unproductive, bad contracts. Not saying Paul Pierce didn't have his moments last season, but he was never getting us to the promise land. During the playoffs, the King told the Truth: Thou shall not pass.

 


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Paul Pierce

AP

Could the Chicago Bulls go after Nets free agent forward Paul Pierce? One Bulls writer thinks he could be a backup option if the Bulls amnesty Carlos Boozer:
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Paul Pierce

 

Paul Pierce: 75 G, 68 GS, 28.0 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.15 SPG, 0.41 BPG, .451 FG% .373 3P%, .826 FT%, 16.81 PER, 6.6 EWA
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Paul Pierce was charged with a flagrant foul for collaring LeBron James on a shot attempt. James made the shot for 2 of his game-high 28 points. (AP)

 

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The block.

 

Nets Raptors Basketball

The Nets and Raptors start their playoff series Saturday in Toronto. (AP)

 

What had happened was: The Nets cast aside their usual uniforms and instead collectively donned a massive white flag in the final game of the regular season, which they lost 114-85 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game mercifully brought to an end a streak of uninspired, boring basketball the Nets largely played over the final two weeks.

The Nets made rest their first priority, as Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Garnett, Alan Anderson, and Mirza Teletovic sat this one out. Instead, the Nets fielded a vaunted five of Jorge Gutierrez, Marquis Teague, Marcus Thornton, Andray Blatche, and Jason Collins. Andrei Kirilenko and Mason Plumlee made appearances of the bench, which was weird, because I wasn’t used to seeing NBA players on the court when they got in the game.

That was: A chore. No one wanted to watch the Nets’ collection of also-rans come out and skirmish with a non-playoff game when the team clearly didn’t give a damn, and this was in many senses not even an NBA game.

Where they stand: After a few days of jockeying, the dust has settled. The Nets will take the No. 6 seed and play the Toronto Raptors, who beat the New York Knicks Wednesday to cement their spot in the No. 3 seed, in the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 will take place at the Air Canada Centre Saturday on ESPN. Time TBD. With the loss, the Nets locked a spot in Miami’s half of the Eastern Conference bracket, which means Brooklyn will play No. 2 Miami in the second round if the Nets advance and Miami takes care of business against No. 7 Charlotte.

This came amid much dismay that the Nets would have to play the Chicago Bulls in the first round once again. The No. 4 Bulls will instead play the No. 5 Washington Wizards.

The stats: Well, they weren’t great. Marcus Thornton led the Nets with 20 points on 6-of-19 shooting — and shoot he did. The cuffs were off for Thornton, who is not shy about shooting in the first place. This was an exhibition in gunning.

Andray Blatche posted 20 points (8-of-18 shooting) and 12 rebounds and featured his usual collection of moves and hilarity. Andrei Kirilenko MADE A PAIR OF FREE THROWS and I don’t care about anything else he did.

Jason Collins was set free to fire, logging eight points on eight shots. The lumbering big man played 39 minutes, and you have to figure he’ll never play that many in an NBA game again.

Shot Chart Rorschach Test: A Christmas-themed square donut.
donut

Is Marquis Teague in the D-League yet? That’s a nope.

Game Grades: Read 'em here.

Was this wise? Maybe. Williams needed the rest. If Johnson needed it, he never would have told you so. Pierce has his shoulder thingy, and Garnett sweats a new ocean after each two-minute stint. There were reasons not to care, but there were also reasons to try and avoid Miami in the second round and stay in rhythm.

Also, I take a little more seriously Jason Kidd’s assertion that Garnett’s minutes load won’t increase in the playoffs given that he had absolutely no chance to increase it incrementally during the regular season. The Nets can probably only count on him for 22 minutes a game in the postseason.

WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?

Shaun Livingston, not doin’ things: He didn’t play. That toe is really actin’ up.

Can you give me a comparison for the number of fast-break dunks the Nets gave up in the second half? Sure thing!

Across the river: The Knicks lost to the Toronto Raptors, putting to bed their miserable season and giving them 37 wins, matching the SCHOENE projection that Knicks fans were quick to call absurd before the season began.

Take that, Masai Ujiri.

Next up: The Nets start what they’ve been building toward since Jan. 1. Saturday they get to show that they really were built for the playoffs.

 

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Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson (AP)

Paul Pierce called out the Nets after their 101-94 loss to the Washington Wizards, imploring them to play with a sense of playoff urgency in the last month of the season:
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