It was a tale of two halves for the Nets last night. Going into the game, many were wondering what kind of effort the Nets would give. I talked about it too, but in the back of my mind, I didn't really think it was anything to worry about. It was the Nets only chance to get a W in quite a while, so why would they come out flat. I wasn't wrong initially, the Nets offense looked as crisp as it was going to be, and the Nets were getting looks, but they weren't going in. That can be expected though, especially with this team. What was disappointing though was the defense, the Kings came out, just tossed the ball all around the court and ended up with easy looks which they made (they shot 60% in the first quarter, and put up 33 points). The lack of effort was noticeable, the terrific Zach Harper from CowbellKingdom said this in the Daily Dime Chat:
I don't want to say anything about the effort of this Nets team because you guys know better than me but Lopez and CD-R seem to be the only guys with any fire tonight.
It wasn't just the players though, Lawrence Frank made some curious decisions in the first half of this game. Lawrence Frank decided he wanted to go small (what else is new), and he did it, playing the 6-5 Trenton Hassell at the 4 for most of his 20 minutes in the first half. Now, when Lawrence Frank goes small, it doesn't really work, and that was only amplified when you took a look at the line-up that the Kings trotted out. They had a very big front-line in Hawes/Brockman/Jason Thompson. This was the reason the Nets were killed on the boards in the first half (27 yo 11). With a very big front line there is no good reason that the only two PFs on the roster get a total of 11 minutes (they weren't in foul trouble either). The playcalling from Lawrence Frank also left much to be desired. Brook Lopez outclassed whoever was covering him in the post that first half, and everytime he touched it, he seemed to get a bucket. The thing is, he didn't touch it that often. Again, quoting Zach Harper from the Daily Dime (I am doing this because it is good to see an outside perspective sometimes):
Brook Lopez is having his way inside against Hawes. I'm perplexed by the Nets offense outside of him.
The second half was a completely different story for the Nets though, and dare I say it, Lawrence Frank made some nice adjustments. He came out with the starting line-up, Boone playing the 4, and stayed with it, the entire 3rd quarter (save Rafer entering for Devin a bit).
The players came out and gave a whole lot of effort as well. In the post game interview aired by YES, Devin said that the team "had an emotional halftime" so that might have had something to do with it. Devin seemed to return to form in the second half, attacking the basket and finding the lanes he was so good at finding last year, and although he missed a lot of lay-ups (those will come with more minutes), I was happy to see him getting to the line and converting. Brook also got a lot more touches in the post, and along with Josh Boone, the Nets were able to control the frontcourt. Speaking of Boone, he played very well tonight, for the first time in a long time, it looked like he actually wanted to play tonight, and it showed. If he can play like he played in the second half for the most part of the year, I will be happy with the effort. Some bullets after the jump:
- Another result of Lawrence Frank's inexplicable decision to go small. Brook Lopez only had 2 rebounds in the first half. This is because the Kings were able to get two big bodies on him (Hawes/Brockman or Hawes/Thompson) and they pinched him, not allowing him to get the rebound.
- My ride on the Rafer Alston bandwagon is over. I have officially hopped off. That happens when you can't execute a simple entry pass to Brook Lopez.
- The "When will CDR snap watch" is on right now. Twice in the first half CDR looked like he was going to fight someone, first after a turnover he clapped his hands together and started yelling at the team. Also, after a Donte Green steal, CDR fouled him upside the head real hard.
- Brook Lopez's foul was not a flagrant. Not even close. NBA refs need to look at the actual foul and not the result.
- Both CDR and Brook Lopez seem to be the real deal, and in all these losses, that is something that can make you smile.
- I don't think there is a better local-broadcast segment than "Ask The Announcers"