Thoughts On The Game: The Nets Are Back To Losing Close Games Again

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The Nets are back to competing, and in my opinion that is a good thing.  I know, the wins aren’t coming, but when you lose 44 of 48 games, you take what positives you can.  The biggest reason why the Nets are competing is because there seems to be some stability in New Jersey.  What do I mean by stability?  Well, they have finally found a nice pace to play at (somewhere in the 92-95 possessions per game range), and they are selectively running now which is what this team can be very good at (27 fast break points tonight).  What I mean by selectively running is when the opportunity is there, take it, but if it isn’t there slow it down.  In the first 20 or so games of the Kiki era, he was forcing the Nets to run at any chance they get.  The Nets aren’t good enough offensively to do that, and Kiki finally made the correct change.

The Nets are also becoming more stable when it comes to the rotation.  Remember when guys like Hayes and T-Will had their minutes fluctuating like crazy?  They would play 20 minutes one game then 5 the next.  Now everyone is getting consistent minutes, and that makes things easier for the players.  As an example, when Terrence Williams was getting limited minutes, he was going out there and forcing things.  This is because he didn’t know when he was getting pulled, so he would try to make the most of his minutes, and that caused him to press.  Now that he is getting 20 minutes on a regular basis (along with guys like CDR and Humphries), they can let the game come to them, knowing they will have numerous games to effect the game positively.  This was proven tonight as the bench looked comfortable out there, and everyone who entered the game off the bench for the Nets had a positive +/-.

As for what the Raptors did to win last night, they hit the three ball.  They were 10-19 from deep.  The three point shot was a real problem for the Nets in the beginning of the year, but over the past couple of weeks, they have done a very good job defending the three point line.  Maybe it was the teams they were playing (The Clippers, Sixers, Wizards, and Pistons don’t light it up from deep), but it was disappointing to see, and I think it cost the team the game.  Some more thoughts after the jump.

  • For the first time in a while, CDR looked comfortable out on the basketball court.  He was able to get himself to the foul line, and he was able to get the rest of his points in the paint.
  • Chris Quinn was 2-2 from three last night, and he has been playing well.  Chris Quinn getting minutes probably isn’t the most favorable thing for a team trying to get wins, but with either Dooling or Harris out due to injury he has been forced to play and he has played pretty well.  Kiki has also been using Quinn smartly to get the most out of him.  Quinn is almost always out there with Terrence Williams, allowing for Williams to bring the ball up, with Quinn playing the shooting guard.  It works because they cross-match on the other end, with Quinn covering the point and Williams covering the 2-guard.
  • The two-headed monster of Yi and Kris Humphries went off for 28 points on 12 for 26 shooting.  Pretty good production out of the PF spot, and I like the inside/outside combination they provide.
  • The Nets really need to get to the line more.  They are a good foul shooting team, but they never get to the line enough.  They only missed 3 shots, but they only attempted 17.  Toronto on the other hand got 29 attempts.  I know we aren’t talking about the Pistons game, but in the 4th quarter of that game they were in the bonus with 7:30 left.  They finished with only 2 more foul shots taken the rest of the way.  Their foul shooting may be one of they only advantages they have over teams.  They need to use it.