Time To Hang Up The Sneakers Till Next Year.
BROOKLYN NETS: The Nets have a good jab, and an effective left hook, but they lack a straight right to put teams away.
Wasn't it a dependency on ISO (isolation basketball) that was partly, if not largely responsible for Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo getting fired?
So, there was Joe Johnson isolated on LeBron James to end the game.... By itself, that might have been fine. But, in truth, the first thing that came to my mind was - there's no plan here. I thought that, because in the closing minutes, I felt Jason Kidd was guilty of designing some of the poorest plays coming out of time outs (I'm talking Mike Woodson poor), punctuated by a horrific in-bounds attempt.
Indeed, there was something very Knicks-like about the way Game Five ended, which explains why the Brooklyn Nets are free to make plans for summer vacation. They had 14 assists all game - pondersous.
Did the Nets get screwed on a couple of whistles, or lack there of? Sure. Different calls could have fostered a different outcome. In fact, I'd love the for the league to explain how it was that LeBron James went to the foul line more times than the entire Nets team.
The Nets nevertheless beat themselves. The Miami Heat were begging for defeat this series, but on three occasions, Brooklyn could not close them out. That's what makes this all so frustrating.
Once again, the Nets faded away late in the game, while Miami finished on a 13-3 run. It was actually worse than that. After Joe Johnson connected on a jumper at 4:48, the Nets missed on their next nine attempts. They went through the next 4:37 before Joe Johnson connected on another three-pointer with just 0:11 left on the clock.
By then, the look on Paul Pierce's face said it all. He was clearly hacked by LeBron James in the closing moments, but was also guilty of an 0 for 3 in the final minutes as well.
This is the way Brooklyn's second NBA playoff ends, having played a series of good games marred by horrible finishes. For the record, it ends in a (second round) Game Five 96-94 loss to the defending champions from Miami.
For Billy King, it may not necessarily be back to the drawing board, unlike after the Nets inaugural season in Brooklyn, but at the same time, the fix may not be that easy.
Billy King's top two salaried bipeds suffer from chronic lower appendages. Deron Williams is going for an MRI on both ankles, and of course, there's Brook Lopez. It was painfully obvious the Nets could have used a healthy Lopez against both the Raptors and Heat.
Paul Pierce's contract will be expiring. Shaun Livingston also becomes a free agent this summer, and should parlay this season into a substantial increase. Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson aren't getting any younger either.
What became very clear in these playoffs, is that the Nets need someone who will provide a knockout blow. Collectively, the Nets have a good jab, and an effective left hook, but they lack a straight right to put teams away.
The off-season will be interesting to say the least.