The Video Breakdowns took a little break because I was unable to get my hands on game video for the past couple games, but I was able to get video from the Boston game, so I thought I would hit you with a breakdown. I gave it a few days, because I was high on the Nets' performance right after the game, and I wanted to see if I would have felt the same way watching it with a clear head.
Do I? Yes and No. I still think the Nets played the best they could given the circumstances on defense, but their play on the offensive end was well, offensive. The Celtics forced a lot of turnovers yes, but the Nets contributed to it a ton. If the Nets gave up the ball less on offense, I think they could have won this game (gasp!).
P.S. Brook, isn't in this too much because I already looked at his performance in depth yesterday.
Introducing Skip To My Lou
Through the years, whenever Rafer Alston had a bad play, I used to call him Skip To My Lou (from his And 1 days), just because you could tell he was just trying to go one-on-one and stuff like that. It wasn't the most clever thing, but for the first few games, I didn't have to bring it up. Well against Boston (on the offensive end at least) Skip To My Lou introduced himself to Nets fans. Screengrabs don't do this one justice, so I got the video for you, even though it is choppy as hell (damn you 3 year old Dell laptop!):
Rafer isn't on a fast break or anything like that, and he tries to throw a touch pass across his body to Brook in the post when he is covered. I love Rafer and what he brought to the Nets so far, but that is how middle school kids pass the ball. Even if he throws the ball on a frozen rope it probably gets stolen. There were a bunch of wasted possessions like that against the Celtics. Most of them didn't result in Celtics' points, but they did take the ball out of the Nets hands and that kept them from scoring.
Bobby Simmons Iso
Another one the screenshots doesn't really do justice. Here the Nets try to run a fast break, but the Celtics get back on D and deny it, Rafer pulls it out (which is a smart move), and they run the pick and roll. Rafer must have channeled his Orlando days, because coming off the screen he doesn't even look for Brook (who was open) and he just kicks it out to Simmons. Hilarity ensues:
If you are looking for the good in it, I guess you could say that Bobby did a good job of crossing over three times before messing up. Bobby Simmons couldn't even do that when he was good. You know, that one year. I understand that it is Scalabrine, but Simmons' job is to catch and shoot at this point. If that isn't there just pass it. This is the second time in two games that he dribbled it off of his foot trying to go to the hole.
When I was in high school, I was on the basketball team. We ran the flex offense. If you played high-school basketball, chances are you ran the flex offense. I think every high school and most college offenses have some sort of variation of the flex offense in their repertoire. It has been around forever and it is run by everyone because it is almost impossible to stop when ran correctly. The Nets actually broke into the flex offense, which is awesome, but somehow...someway, they managed to mess it up:
Rafer Alston quickly gets the ball ahead to Bobby Simmons, trying to get Brook on a post up. It actually works and Brook Lopez is open, but Simmons doesn't even really look for him and he quickly throws a skip pass to Josh Boone.
As the skip pass is made, the Nets do a pretty good job just hoping in the flex. Brook sets a solid screen (he is really a good screener when you think about it), and this is where the trouble begins. Simmons half-heartedly comes off the screen.
Even though Brook set a good initial screen, he is still at fault here (and so is Rafer), Brook loops around the screen too much, and Rafer doesn't get to the block quick enough to set the screen.
Rafer needs to get lower when he sets the screen to prevent exactly what happens. Rondo realizes the play (hell, everyone should have) and switches the screen and jumps the pass. If Rafer is down lower, setting the screen, even if Rondo switches the screen, he is too far away to get to the pass. In the above picture, I mark where everyone should be on the court. Simmons should be through the lane already, but he is still in the middle of his lazy cut. Rafer should be at the block for the above mentioned reasons. Finally Brook should be at the high post for two reasons. One, it makes Josh Boone's pass easier, and two, it makes him more of a threat when he catches the ball. Here is the video:
The thing that tickles me is when Josh Boone waves his hand at Bobby Simmons to hurry up and finish his cut. When Josh Boone is telling you to hustle...that's bad...Like I said earlier, I think it is awesome that the Nets went into this looking for a quick hit (and that is what the Flex can be used for in the NBA, you can't run it every trip down like in high school), but it needs to be executed correctly.
This Is What A Point-Forward Is
You guys already know I love Terrence Williams, but here is a great example why. Terrence came into the game and he was ice cold. He missed his first three shots (and he never really got it going for that matter), so what did he do the next chance he got? He took it to the rim.
That is a crazy move. He made Paul Pierce look just plain silly on that one huh? Spun him around and made him give up. This is the beauty of the point forward. Terrence Williams was the point guard there even though Rafer Alston was in the game. That means Paul Pierce now has to cover Terrence Williams as he brings the ball up in space. Williams wins that battle 9/10 times. I know T-Will has had to run the true point since he's the only back-up, but do you think he pulls off that move on Rondo? No way.
Rafer Alston Getting Back On D
Here, the Nets turn the ball over (not surprising) and Rafer Alston is staring down Rajon Rondo as he runs full speed at him towards the basket. It is a one on one fast break, and Rafer is able to stop him (surprising):
That is just awesome effort by Rafer here. I mean how many times have you seen a guy just take a lazy swipe at the ball, just stand there, or just give up the foul. Rafer pulled off the rare defensive juke, and it was beautiful. He made a fake like he was going one way, got Rajon Rondo to try and switch directions (and almost forced him into a travel), and he was able to not only knock the ball away, but he was even able to knock it off of Rondo and get the ball back. Real good stuff.
More Smart Play From Terrence Williams
Terrence Williams still makes a ton of mistakes out there. His biggest one is he tries to make passes that worked in college. Cross-court passes and stuff like that, but when he plays with-in himself (and he does that a lot more than I would expect a rookie to do it), he makes a lot of good basketball plays:
This actually comes off a broken play. It starts with Rafer making a move to the basket. Take note of how much time is left on the shot clock, it is important.
Somehow the ball gets knocked to Josh Boone, and since Josh Boone can't finish around the rim, he decides to drive baseline and kick it out. Terrence Williams did a solid job of drifting towards the baseline and showing his hands...making himself available for the pass (making it an easier pass for Josh Boone in the process).
Terrence Williams catches the ball with 4 seconds left on the shot clock. He could have very well shot it here. If he did, nobody would have batted an eye. Lawrence Frank wouldn't have yelled at him, the announcers wouldn't have said anything, I wouldn't of picked this play out. The shot clock was running down, he had to shoot it. Terrence Williams knew that he wasn't shooting the ball well though (on his way to a 4-14 game including 0-3 from the line), he decides to pump fake and drive it.
Terrence's drive draws two Celtics into the lane because there is so little time on the shot clock. Terrence Williams remains cool though and kicks it out to Rafer Alston who is wide open. So wide open, he knocks down a three as the shot clock expires. Here it is in real time:
This game didn't age like a fine wine at all. Once the "We only lost by 10 to the Celtics!" thought wore off, you could notice a whole bunch of mistakes on offense. Those 3 plays I picked out? There were at least 10 more like it. At least. Imagine if there were 0 like it? The Nets would have won the game. I am not taking away their effort though, the guys played hard, and they gave the Celtics fits when playing defense and were effective making the game sloppy. It wasn't the gem I remember though.