Thoughts On The Game: All Trick, No Treat

Get it?  Because it was Halloween last night?  No?  Well, Mark will be back to do these after the next game, he is obviously more clever to me.

The game didn’t start off too bad defensively, as the Nets held the Wizards to 28 points (should have been 25 – Gilbert Arenas drilled a 40 footer) that quarter and were only down four.  On the offensive end, the Nets started off solid as well, with Rafer easily getting into the lane for a lay-up, Yi looked as if he was going to continue his hot shooting as he nailed a 20 footer, and CDR got to the foul line for the first time this season.  The Nets had a 6-5 lead, and it looked as if this game was going to be competitive the whole way through.  I was way off.

Brook also got a couple of touches early in the first, converting on a few nice passes.  After the first quarter Brook didn’t do much of anything, but it wasn’t necessarily his fault.   Brook had four points in the first quarter, and he was removed from the game with about 1 minute left.  He didn’t return until there were 6 minutes left in the second quarter.  Now this is where Lawrence Frank loses me, you are without Devin Harris, and Brook Lopez had an off game the night before.  Tonight is a perfect example of when you give Brook the ball, ride your horse, and let him do work.  You show that you have confidence in him.  You don’t give him an extended rest as the Wizards (mainly Andray Blatche) start to score at will.  In the meantime, when Brook was sitting out, Lawrence Frank decided to trot out a lineup of Terrence Williams, CDR, Bobby Simmons, Eduardo Najera, and Josh Boone.  Does he really think that gives him the best chance of winning ball games?  One more little rant on the rotation, Terrence Williams, who was making things happen the first half with a few nice passes (and one ridiculous put-back jam), only got 8 minutes in the first half.  The same amount as Boone, and only 3 minutes less than Simmons.  **Takes a deep breath.**  OK, I think I am done venting.

Speaking of Andray Blatche, he absolutely killed the Nets last night.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking anything away from this kid, he had a great game, and he will be a great talent in the future, but you can’t let him get 30 points exclusively taking jump shots (15-18 shooting).  When you allow Gilbert Arenas to go off, you have to stop everyone else (the let him get his philosophy).  When you let 2 players score 62 points on 24-31 shooting, you probably won’t win the game.  Despite being a bulldog, Najera wasn’t quick enough or tall enough to stick with Blatche.  I don’t know how Sean Williams has been doing in practice, but you need to give him a chance to stop him.  Instead, Lawrence Frank just sat on his hands while he watched Blatche embarrass Yi and Najera.

The offense generally looked clunky tonight too.  It seems that this offense only works when your team is hitting jump shots (the threat off of screens isn’t there if the Nets shooters aren’t making the shots).  We were running the same sets over and over, despite them not working…over and over.  Something that I have noticed is that we are running the same sort of sets with CDR instead of Vince.  Now CDR is a great scorer, but he is no Vince Carter, and we shouldn’t be running double screens for him as the only option.  This team has a lot of quick guards who can get into the lane, but it seems like Lawrence Frank making the correct calls (I don’t even know if he has the correct calls) to take advantage of the Nets strengths.  It is 3 games in and I miss Brian Hill already.

Key Plays

(The time of these plays are going to be vague because the notebook I keep with me got thrown across the room when Arenas hit that buzzer beater.  I was too lazy to pick it up)

25 seconds, First Quarter

Terrence Williams showed why he can be a special player in this league on this play.  Crashing the boards hard off the weak-side on a shot attempt, Terrence Williams took off, basically stole the ball from Josh Boone and Brandon Haywood, and finished all in one motion with one hand.  Pretty sweet.

0 seconds, First Quarter

A little miscommunication by the Nets (Najera ended up pushing Williams trying to get him to Arenas) gave Gilbert Arenas an open look from 40.  Usually this doesn’t matter, but with Gilbert Arenas it most certainly does.  He drilled it effectively stealing the momentum from the Nets after Terrence Williams big dunk.

9 seconds, Second Quarter

In another brilliant Lawrence Frank substitution,  he took out Courtney Lee and replaced him with Terrence Williams.  Why?  Because he probably wanted to defend DeShawn Stevenson full court with him.  The problem?  Terrence Williams allowed him to go coast to coast and make a lay-up at the buzzer.  I don’t even want to start to try to figure out that move.  My head hurts enough.

Other Bullet Points:

  • CDR played well.  I just wanted to type that before I type the following because it is going to look like I am bashing him.  That isn’t the goal.  With that being said, CDR doesn’t look good coming off the screens, he pounds the ball on the ground too much.  He has to be quicker with his decisions there, he needs to take the shot or hit the roller.  A few times tonight (and plenty of times in the preseason) he has had Brook open on the roll, but he takes too long picking his head up coming off the screen and by the time he does that, Brook isn’t open.
  • Rafer Alston has adjusted to backing up Devin Harris very nicely.  I love the way he has been playing the past 3 games.  So much so, I am going to suggest something crazy.  When Devin comes back, why not start Rafer at point and Devin at 2?  Keep CDR or slide C. Lee at the 3 and have the other coming off the bench with Terrence Williams.  Am I crazy, or does that make sense.
  • Courtney Lee must be pressing.  It is the only thing I can think of.  Fundamentally his shot looks good, he is landing in the same spot he is taking off in.  The release looks good and he is taking smart shots.  They just aren’t going in.  Let’s be patient with him guys, the shots will start to fall.
  • Continuing with Mark’s +/- theme, our winner last night was Sean Williams scoring a whopping +3.
  • I will be breaking down the game later today if I don’t punch out my laptop screen while rewatching the game, so look for that.