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I am going to do something that I have been doing since after the Minnesota game. Gush over Yi. I already wrote a couple Daily Dime pieces on him, but he just continues to impress. You rarely see a guy change so much from year to year, but Yi is coming in with a new mentality and I love it. What I liked the most about tonight’s performance is that he only took two shots from outside 15 feet, and he was 0-2 on those shots. If he had a shooting performance like this last year, it would have been one of those rough nights for him. This year though, Yi just decided to take it to the basket. He was 6-9 at the rim, 2-3 inside 10 feet, and 1-2 inside 15 feet finishing with 22 points. The fact that he is driving the basketball now is what will make him a consistent player in this league. Nights the shots don’t fall (like tonight) he will be able just to put his head down and drive. Nights he’s on, watch out.
Rafer Alston picked up a DNP-CD (did not play, coaches decision) tonight, and I think that is a sign that he isn’t working out as a Net. I don’t think the Nets will make any moves, but if they do, he is probably the guy who will get shipped. He just hasn’t fit here in New Jersey, and this is coming from someone who thought he was going to be a great fit, but I was using Orlando Rafer Alston as a template, but that isn’t the Rafer Alston that arrived in New Jersey. I don’t know why (maybe because he is in his contract year/maybe it’s just because he isn’t on a good team), but he has seemed to revert to that guy who played in Houston and Miami, pounding the ball on the floor as hard as he can and just shooting it. It seems that he was the guy who was in the middle of the “division” and now Kiki and Del aren’t giving him minutes now that Keyon Dooling seems to be 100%. You could see it against the Thunder when he came in, the ball just stuck in his hands. The pace and the feel of the offense was noticeably different with Rafer Alston in the game. Tonight, Del and Kiki didn’t give him the chance to effect the game.
This was only the second game that the Nets had their original opening day starting lineup (they are 1-1 | .500 baby!). With the right guys finally all on the court, you can see what Kiki and Rod Thorn had in mind when they built this team. You had 6 out 8 guys who played score in double figures. What that means is the offense can’t load up on one specific guy. At one point in the fourth quarter, you had CDR dribbling against Dalino Gallinari. If you have Trenton Hassell, Josh Boone, or Rafer Alston on the court while this is happening, the Knicks would have been able to send whoever was covering one of these guys to double CDR and force him to give up the ball. Since everyone on the court could score, no double came, and CDR just attacked the basket, hitting the big lay-up. With everyone back, it also allows for guys to settle in their natural roles, most specifically Courtney Lee. Nevermind the fact that we thought he could be a number 3 scorer, it is becoming apparent that he isn’t ready for that at this point in his career. Where he can help the Nets is being defensive guy (tonight he got his hands on a ton of basketballs), who hits a shot here and there. Now that everyone is back, he can do this. A few more tidbits after the jump.
- Remember when I talked about the Nets not being able to hit their lay-ups? Well tonight they were able to get their high number of attempts like they usually do (41 attempts), but tonight they made 61% of them (25). Like I talked about earlier, getting easy points like this are key if the Nets want to keep getting wins.
- It is fun to see Terrence Williams attack under control. When he is under control, he has options, he can pass or go for the lay-up. He still gets a bit wild at times (had 1 crazy across the body attempt), but he is a rookie and that will happen from time to time. He is learning, and that is always a good thing.
- The Nets just ended their second double-digit losing streak. Let’s put it in perspective. That Sixers team who only won 9 games, they had 4 such streaks. We aren’t the worst team in the history in the NBA, far from it (at least right now).
- Seeing Keyon Dooling on the court just makes me smile. I don’t know what it is, but he is such a smart player, and can do so many things on the court, I feel at ease when he is in there. If the Nets have a roster spot open next year (who knows with this crazy 2010 FA period that everyone is expecting), I would love to see the Nets extend him.
- It amazes me that Al Harrington has never “stuck” on a team. He is a great scorer who is a threat to put up 20+ plus every single night. He doesn’t seem to be a bad locker room guy either, I don’t know what it is, but I have always had a soft spot for him, once he leaves the Knicks (that will most likely happen at the end of the year), I will be rooting for him again.
- It is just fun to beat the Knicks isn’t it? Now let’s just hope the Jets lose this weekend, and it will be a perfect week (sorry Mark!).
- Continuing the theme from the last bullet, lets all have a little fun at the Knicks’ expense. The Nets have been the butt of so many jokes, it’s only fair. Check out this video of the Knicks trying to foul the Nets. It’s so cute to see them running around trying to foul…
One more thing. I started this site in it’s current form late April/early June (has it been 7 months already? Time flies when you are covering a below average basketball team) with Mark joining the team a few months afterwords. I started this site because I enjoy writing, basketball, the Nets, and writing about the Nets. I still do. In the past 7 months, the site has been pretty successful (I mean anytime Henry Abbott selects a site to be one of the 30+ sites to represent the TrueHoop Network, you must be doing something right), and we couldn’t have done it without you guys, the readers. We have just recently reached our 200,000th hit this year, and while that might not seem like a lot, it is a very large improvement over the 1,000 we got in our first month. I hope you guys enjoyed 2009 with NetsAreScorching, and I promise that 2010 will be even better for the site, and Mark and I are glad you will be along for the ride. Thank you guys for making NetsAreScorching bigger and better than I could have ever imagined it being.