Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Nets vs. Knicks: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Atlantic Division Standings

From the desks of:

Thursday, December 5, 2013
Local Basketball Plight Night:
New York Knicks
Brooklyn Nets
Barclays Center
Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
In 2013, the burgeoning big city basketball rivalry has devolved into a ferocious battle for last place of the Atlantic Division.  Both teams have so far spent the first quarter-season setting new lows in futility.  And on any given night, one product stinks more than the other.  Tonight was just the Nets turn.  The stench is getting so bad, the NYC Department of Sanitation should consider ticketing both owners for polluting the city's courts with such garbage play.
The Knicks and Nets are a combined 8-26 this season.  With a 5-13 record, Brooklyn is actually the better of two.  But only for the moment.  Paul Pierce broke his hand, and Nets fortunes could soon plummet even further as a result.

Meanwhile, the Knicks own last place to themselves with a 3-13 record, but because the Atlantic Division is so pathetic, they are only three games out of first.

Denver Nuggets Hold A Dunking Clinic On Flatbush Avenue, As Ex-Knick Timofey Mozgov Pulls Down 20 Rebounds, And Provided The Two Hand Slam That Sent Brooklyn Fans Scattering For The Exits.

Depleted Nets Pan Fools Gold Against Nuggets:

Denver Nuggets  111
Brooklyn Nets       87
3rd Qtr.
Nuggets   31
NETS      15

The Nets finally halted a five game losing streak with a victory over Toronto, then promptly dropped a pair to the Lakers and Rockets, before defeating the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Entering Tuesday night's game against a 10-6 Denver Nuggets team, the Nets hadn't yet won two games in a row, and were winless in their last four attempts at Barclays Center.  The Nuggets entered the game winners of six in a row.

By night's end, the Nuggets were winners of seven straight, while Brooklyn dropped to 0-5 in their last five games at Barclays - their longest losing streak at their new arena, dropped to 5-13 on the season, and have yet to win two games in a row.

Tuesday, the Nets owned a 29-27 lead after the first quarter, but trailed 58-50 at the half.  Once again, the third quarter has been Brooklyn's kryptonite, as the Nuggets opened up a 20 point lead over the Nets.  By the end of the third, Denver led 89-65; a 24-point margin the home crowd did not appreciate.

Boos rained down from the Barclays Center rafters.

When the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard indicated that same 24-point margin for a Denver victory, in a 111-87 final.

The Nets walked off to boos.

BROOKLYN NETS: Jason Kidd Consolidates His Power;
Head Coach Claims Tension And Philosophical Differences As Reasons For Demoting Lawrence Frank.
Third quarter melt downs, ballerina ankles, Soda-Gate, a fractured hand suffered by Paul Pierce, and now Lawrence Frank effectively gets pink-slipped - the season just gets more ponderous with every night that goes by.
Deron Williams continues to miss time with bad ankles - as in the plural variety.  Those ankles will bother Williams all season long.  I'm sure of it.  In fact, the rash of early ankle injuries, not just to Deron, but to Brook Lopez, and Kevin Garnett as well, was something remarkable.
Without their star point guard, the Nets are in a bind.  The offense is clearly fractured, if not disjointed.  Shaun Livingston has done admirable work in his place, but was never considered a good shooter.  He is also only averaging 3.4 assists per game.  Behind him, Tyshawn Taylor is averaging 15 minutes, 2.6 assists and 5.9 points.

Most notably, the offense has slowed again, which is something that has worked to Joe Johnson's advantage, and his recent results on the floor bear that out.  He is the Nets second leading scorer with 15.6 points per game.  He dropped 26 points on Memphis, to go along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

The return of Brook Lopez has also changed the face of the offense again.  But now that Paul Pierce will miss between two to four weeks, there is no reason not to double-team Brook Lopez..., all the time.  Enter Andray Blatche.  With Pierce down, he remains one of only three Nets players on the floor averaging double-digit points.  Blatche has averaged 11.1 points per game this season, mostly off the bench.

Both Lopez and Blatche trail Kevin Garnett's 7.7 rebounds per game.  Garnett is averaging 8.6 ppg.  Many people argue he needs to do more.  But he wasn't brought here for that.  It's the aforementioned who need to do more.  Right now, Kevin Garnett's voice is the only one worth listening to, because even the head coach wasn't sure his message was getting through.

Jason Kidd's effect on the team was looking questionable, although many insisted, he was in charge. Getting tuned out by his players was much more troublesome than Soda-Gate.  Now we have a revelation.  Jason Kidd admitted he and Lawrence Frank shared a difference of philosophical opinions, and that there has been friction between the two since the season opener.  Jason Kidd announced Frank will no longer join the team on the bench, nor will he participate in practices.  Frank has been reassigned, or should I say, demoted, relegated to processing daily reports.  It's only my hunch, that Kidd came to this decision between losing pitifully to the Rockets, in which Jason Kidd benched all his starters, and their recent victory against the Grizzlies.

I suspect Lawrence Frank will be amicably leaving the organization shortly.

This is a good move by Jason Kidd.  He needs to cement his position as head coach, and be the team's alpha.  For now, diagramming X's and O's is another matter.  But of his now infamous spillage, I'll give him an E for Effort, and a C for creativity, but I certainly do not care to ever see that repeated.  That was embarrassing.

This game against the Knicks will be number nineteen of the season.  Billy King put the number at twenty games before initiating his first reassessment of the team's overall situation.  Jason Kidd is well aware of that, and perhaps decided on a proactive, or preemptive measure in order to change the conversation moving forward.


NEW YORK KNICKS: The S.S. Dolan Rests At The Bottom Of The Atlantic.

James Dolan gave Mike Woodson the proverbial kiss of death in a recent interview, by declaring his confidence in the Knicks head coach, and adding that he had no intentions of firing him.  Meanwhile, "Fire Woodson" has become the subversive anthem at the Garden lately, but Woodson said on numerous occasions that he doesn't coach scared.  Good for him, because the Knicks are in last place, in the midst of a nine game losing streak, and Tuesday, a local tabloid rocked the back page with Jeff Van Gundy.

Another thing James Dolan proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that he is obsessed with Mikhail Prokhorov.

On the court, Eman Shumpert continues to make an enemy of Coach Woodson.  Coach Woodson continues to growl at J.R. Smith.  But of all people, it was Amare Stoudemire who launched the first salvo at a team mate.  That said, Carmelo Anthony will be made to look like a rat fleeing a sinking ship.  I'd want out of this mess too.  Melo would be smart to opt out, and get away from NYC if he wants to win a championship.

Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson are joined at the hip.  Coach Woodson made it so the first day he took over.  If you remember, getting Melo to buy into the team concept is what got Mike D'Antoni fired in the first place.  In so many words, Woodson declared himself no dummy, and said he was going to give Carmelo Anthony the ball, and ride him like a mule.  That was a brilliant set-up by Woodson, because it's hard to get criticized for relying on your star player.  Instead, Woodson's potential downfall lies with the team's overall lethargy of play.  Hearing Melo repeat how the team, in which he always includes himself, didn't sell-out on the floor, or on defense, is getting tired.

It's funny that Melo should be the one who points out the team lacks cohesion, just like it was odd of Stoudemire to launch scuds.  But if the team lacks cohesion, he's the chief reason why.

There is hope yet, when Tyson Chandler returns, and if Ray Felton ever gets his act together.  Otherwise, Tim Hardaway's recent play is screaming for more minutes.  But none of that may be enough to save Jim Dolan's monster from the villagers baring pitchforks and torches when they come.


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