Luis Scola scored 44 points against the Nets last night. Let me repeat that, Luis Scola scored 44 points against the Nets last night. Despite Chuck Hayes starting the game at center, he only played 10 minutes, and when Hayes wasn’t on the court Scola is the player who slid to the 5 spot. With Brook Lopez struggling with foul trouble throughout the game (only played 37 minutes and had to sit during a key 2 minute chunk in the fourth quarter when the Rockets went on a 7-0 run), Scola was able to out-work the rest of the Nets undersized frontcourt and get his baskets in the lane. As he started to hit his shots, and as he started to see the ball go in, he got more comfortable. He ended up taking 25 shots, and making 20 of them. I don’t think a Net has made 20 shots in a game all year. Lopez’s foul trouble effected Scola on the other side of the court. When Brook was in, they worked it inside against the undersized Scola and it was effective. Pounding it inside against Scola probably would have been able to wear him down and possibly got him in foul trouble, limiting his chances.
Even with Scola going off for 44, the Nets were still in this ballgame late. After Jarvis Hayes hit a three pointer with about nine minutes left, the Rockets lead was cut down to two points, 87-85. The next three possessions for the Nets were a bad shot, a turnover, and another bad shot, and just like that the Rockets’ lead stretched out 9 points, 94-85. Some of it had to do with Brook being out (he re-entered the game after this run and instantly got an easy bucket in the post), but this is starting to become a trend with the Nets. They work to get a game close late against a solid team, and then when it comes down to a key possession, they just lose their mind. Friday night in OKC, the Nets were down for with about a minute thirty left. Jarvis Hayes rushed a three and didn’t even hit the rim. Last night, the lead was two points and Terrence Williams made a bad pass that I haven’t seen him make since his struggles early in the year. I don’t know if it is the pressure of trying to get past this record, but the Nets just lose their mind when the game is close late.
Speaking of Terrence Williams, the start Terrence Williams movement is gaining some steam (it is almost as popular as the trade Terrence Williams movement from the early part of the year), and I have to agree with the guys calling for T-Wiill to start. However, you can see why Kiki is having him come off the bench. For one, if T-Will starts and they bring in Trenton Hassell off the bench, the Nets second unit weakens tremendously. The Nets’ second unit gets killed as it is, you take Terrence Williams out of that second unit, and it is even worse. Also, there are guys in this league who are good in limited amount of minutes. Maybe Kiki and the coaching staff believe that Terrence Williams at 35-40 minutes isn’t as effective as Terrence Williams at 25-30 minutes. They have evidence of this. Remember the beginning of the year, where Terrence was playing 40 minutes a game? He wasn’t nearly as effective as he is now. Some more thoughts after the jump.
- Courtney Lee looks like he finally shook the hand injury. After 2 games where he struggled, Lee went 10-14 from the field (including 3-4 from three) for 24 points. He just looks competent and calm out on the court, I know he struggled for most of the year, but he is starting to show the consistency most people were hoping for. Maybe he is finally developing into the player Rod Thorn saw him being when he made that trade.
- I don’t know if it is because Brook complains about a lot of calls and has poor body language, but he gets the most amount of “iffy” calls called on him that I have seen this year. Last night, Brook was running up the court as Devin Harris crossed over behind him. Brook didn’t stop, but it didn’t even look like he was trying to set a screen. This happens like 20 times a game, every game, for every team. And Brook Lopez got called for his 5th foul on it.
- Kris Humphries still continues to struggle on the offensive end. While he brings great defensive energy and playmaking ability on that end, I am starting to see why the Mavs were willing to give him up to get Eduardo Najera.
- After struggling all year from the three point line, the Nets have become pretty effective from there. You have Hayes hitting, you have Lee hitting, and also Terrence Williams is starting to hit from behind the three point line. The Nets shot 60% on 15 attempts last night. That is pretty damn impressive.