Don’t fret loyal readers – there will be a “Thoughts on the Game” column in the morning, but I was so struck by some postgame comments from Chris Douglas-Roberts, I felt inclined to share and react a bit, after watching the Raptors absolutely drub the Nets 118-95.
After calling their performance “pitiful,” I thought CDR made some very thoughtful and telling comments in front of the cameras:
“There’s no one to point the finger at, it’s us … We’re playing and it’s not like we don’t know how to play. We know how to play … As a team we all need to just look in the mirror and evaluate ourselves. Don’t point the finger – pointing the finger can contagious. That can be poison for a locker room.”
Now, I’m not going to take wild guesses as to who CDR was possibly accusing of poisonous behavior in the locker room (cough – Rafer Alston – cough), but the outspoken Douglas-Roberts has a point.
While I’m certainly not some old curmudgeon here who can recall the glory days of Dr. J., I’ve been a Nets fan for nearly two decades and as I’ve recapped here in the past, I’ve witnessed some pretty bad seasons, and some pretty bad individual performances. Given the fact that coming into tonight’s game, the Raptors were struggling nearly as badly as the Nets have been, I would rank tonight’s first half as some of the worst basketball I’ve ever seen played by this franchise. For a 2-24 team to come out of the gates as flat and disinterested as the Nets did tonight is just inexplicable. I tend to think we, as fans, are too quick to jump on athlete’s for not showing enough effort, because it’s not always clear, to the naked eye, how hard a player is trying out there. But I can definitively say the Nets showed no effort early-on tonight.
CDR is right – the pointing of fingers must end now. The Nets have already scapegoated one head coach, and if this level of poor play continues, I’m sure Kiki will follow Lawrence Frank to the bread line by the end of the season. Still, it’s the players who are the ones who are failing. I can accept failure if the team gives 100 percent effort, and is entertaining and showing signs of growing together through the adversity. I am completely turned off by failure that’s a result of players phoning in games, and teams failing to form any kind of bond or chemistry with each other. It’s nice that Devin Harris took everyone out to eat earlier this week, but there is still rampant dysfunction throughout this entire roster. It’s so rampant, I’m starting to doubt if this team really has what it takes to learn how to win with each other.
While it’s nice to dream of Russian billionaires, free agent bonanzas, and Kentucky point guards, there is still a season to play now, and the Nets owe it to their fans, their coaches and themselves to at least show up and compete. Otherwise, the season will remain nothing short of pitiful.