I’m sorry for the rather short recap tonight. I’m feeling under the weather tonight, and I need to get some sleep. If you’d like to hear more from me about the game, feel free to send me an e-mail at [email protected].
As far as losses for the New Jersey Nets go, this one was pretty nondescript. 82 points scored? Ho-hum. 34 team rebounds? Nothing new there. 44 percent shooting? Naturally! The Nets went into Detroit and stunk in typical Nets fashion, and yet, this defeat seemed particularly disheartening.
Maybe it’s because it came against the Pistons, who are also very bad at basketball. Maybe it’s because I thought the Nets were due for a win on the road. Or maybe it’s because I subconsciously feel very bad for the Nets players who are forced to be in Detroit for a significant amount of time. Nevertheless, at the end of the game, I found myself saying: “These are my Nets.”
To be far, no one informed the Nets that the world had rolled its clock back to 2004, which is why Elton Brand and Vince Carter went off for 33 points each elsewhere, Tracy McGrady and Tayshaun Prince combined for 38 points, and Ben Wallace … scored. If they’d known that, maybe they wouldn’t have been so surprised and wouldn’t have started leaving Greg “DeMarcus and Derrick Who?” Monroe alone for 20 points and 11 rebounds. But there can be no shortage of kudos directed at Devin Harris lookalike Austin Daye, who found himself burying a three-pointer every time the Nets attempted to make a run and crawl back into the game.
As far as the Nets go, I breathed a sigh of relief to see Anthony Morrow back in the starting lineup, even though he deprived himself of heavy minutes early with a pair of quick fouls. By the end of the night, though, he had wracked up 22 points to lead the team on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 shooting from downtown. Morrow was also indirectly responsible for the most important note in the box score all night: “Stephen Graham — DNP (Coach’s Decision). The last time Avery Johnson decided not to play Stephen Graham, people actually thought this team could make the playoffs. That said, Trenton Hassell 2.0 got 13 minutes tonight, so I guess you pick your self-inflicted poison in that regard.
Then there was the Brook Lopez standard. He posted 16 points and 4 rebounds. Not surprising. Not alarming. That’s just Lopez these days. But it is a testament to the fact that this team really can’t win without an assertive offensive performance from its center, rebounding aside.
Furthermore, while Derrick Favors was essentially a nonfactor as far as the play of the team went (4 points, 5 rebounds), it was thrilling to see him drain a face-up jumper from the short corner. Even an open one shows that he’s making progress. He really hadn’t done that at all up until this point.
But let’s talk about Travis Outlaw. He’s terrible. That is all.
You also have to be disappointed in what Sasha Vujacic provided off the bench, but his production is really going to hit or miss. Either he’s going to hit his jumpers or not, and tonight he didn’t. These are the breaks.
Moving forward, it’s appropriate for the Nets to just bide their time. They aren’t going to make the playoffs, and they aren’t going to win very often. Find someone to take Troy Murphy, and then ride the rest of the season out. The rebuilding can resume next year.