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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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New Jersey Nets (21-18) at San Antonio Spurs (27-15)

01/21/2004, 8:30 PM EST
SBC Center, San Antonio, TX
TV: YES, FSSW, NBALP


Previous Meeting:
11/12/03 - in NJ - Spurs 85, Nets 71

Tim Duncan - 31 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks
Tony Parker - 17 points, 6 rebounds
Jason Kidd - 14 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists

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A difficult match-up, but better than the Mavs match-up. The Spurs just lost to the Pistons. They're struggling and relatively vulnerable.

The Nets' scrambling, switching defense is at less risk to be exposed by the Spurs. In fact, it has a good chance of working to disrupt the Spurs offense. Their offense has been stoppable and their poor FT shooting has compounded the problem. Parker and Ginobili are struggling. Rose is struggling and hurt. Their bench has been inconsistent. Nesterovic has some skills, but he isn't David Robinson and hasn't formed that kind of PF/C team with Duncan.

The Spurs are still trying to figure out who they are. But, they still have Duncan. They're still the champs, they're at home and they have depth and talent.

For the Nets, the main danger area will be tiredness coming off the Mavs game. If Parker is on his game, then Kidd's condition will be tested. The rotation and bench are unsettled. A-Train's status is unknown, and the Nets will need him to establish a low-post presence.

The Spurs should be favored, but tonight's game is as good an opportunity as the Nets will have to take one from the champs. They should be motivated to avoid 4 losses in a row and by their return to the scene of Game 6 of the Finals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, you know that the Spurs aren't going to run away with the game like the Kings or Mavs could. They win with defense. You know it will be a low scoring game, and there will be some long offensive droughts. In the Finals, the Spurs did a great job of getting back to stop the break, so the Nets will be forced to execute in the half court, and knock down some outside shots.

I think we'll see Kittles guarding Parker a lot, and Kidd on Bowen. Kidd can then be free to double-team Duncan. The Spurs don't have the shooters to kill the Nets like the Mavs did last night.
 

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I expect a game reminiscient of the Finals, too.

Compared to the Mavs, the Spurs' pace of play is favorable to the Nets. With the electric Kidd-led fastbreak, the Nets are actually a deliberate half-court offensive team. The mistrust of the bench and lack of depth also lends to a more deliberate pace.

The Mavs run a fluid, quick-hitting offense, which last night discouraged steals and rebounds. The slower paced Spurs don't pass as well, which should lead to more turn-overs and easy scores, and should allow the Nets to set up better for rebounds in the half-court.

Martin is going to need help matched up against Duncan. I wonder who'll step up to give it to him. I'm curious as to who of Rogers and Scalabrine Scott will bring off the bench first. Either or both of them will play an important role tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by <b>NYCbballFan</b>!
Martin is going to need help matched up against Duncan. I wonder who'll step up to give it to him. I'm curious as to who of Rogers and Scalabrine Scott will bring off the bench first. Either or both of them will play an important role tonight.
Duncan is shooting 60% from the line, so I would hope the Nets foul him whenever he gets position down low. Nesterovic is even worse (47%). It will be important for K-Mart to stay out of foul trouble, though. Collins and Williams may spend some time on Duncan, and Rogers and Scalabrine can get a few hacks in too.
 

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I would decrease the number of times K-Mart defends Duncan in the low-post. Martin has a tendency to chop down with his "hammer" when he's beat in the post, which Duncan definitely can do. Martin is good at it, but he puts himself at risk for picking up fouls. That happened in the Finals and the Nets need K-Mart to avoid foul trouble more than Duncan to brick free throws. I would try to save the K-Mart on Duncan defense for the 4th Q.

The Nets are deep at PF, if at no other position, and they should take advantage of that. Nobody should play soft defense on the Spurs' bigs. If Scott uses the 24 combined fouls of Twin, Veal, A-Train and Rogers to play aggressive defense on Duncan and Rasho, I have no problem with that.
 

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The first half was a lot of fun to watch. The second half was about as frustrating as it gets.

I don't think it would have made much of a difference, but how can Byron play Rogers over Scalabrine again? Veal had a great game last night in Dallas, and he gets no PT in return!
 

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You know, it's easy to blame the Nets bench for lack of contribution . . . BUT when the coach's substitution strategy is to use the dysfunctional Harris/Kittles backcourt and to give Rogers '6th Man' minutes, what exactly does he expect the bench to contribute? A-Train didn't stand out, but at least he did what he could on a team that abandoned the interior. (Beat 52-18 in points in the paint - are you kidding me?)

As far as Veal, why it's obvious. Scalabrine was clearly to blame for the loss to the Mavs, which wasted a grand effort by Rodney Rogers that would have won the game if not for Veal's incompetence. Scott being a wise coach, played Rogers like the 6th Man of the Year, and benched Veal, where a blundering 2nd round draft pick belongs. Why if Veal had played meaningful minutes, the Nets would probably have lost by 40 points. Kudos to Scott. Double-kudos for hanging another DNP-CD on Pack in favor of using Lu at PG.

Seriously - I guess Scott figured Veal matched up as poorly with the Spurs as he thought A-Train matched up with the Mavs. He made some odd decisions in Dallas and San Antonio. Benching A-Train and then Veal. Zone defense against the Mavs. Odd.

It WAS a fun game to watch as far as pace, but the danger signs were there early.

The Nets weren't playing their game in the 1st half. The motion offense, the little of it there was, wasn't working. Kittles scoring 24/47 of the Nets points in the 1st half was an anomaly, and it wasn't hard to guess he would drop off in the 2nd half. The Nets forwards, the foundational scorers of the motion offense, were shut down. Collins was useless in a vital match-up against the Spurs' bigs. Despite the Nets hot shooting, the Spurs kept the game close in the first half and rotated their players through with rest. Once Kittles was shut down in the 2nd half, the Nets actual level of execution was exposed.

The team execution the last two games was as bad as it has been all season. Teammates out of sync. Movement out of sync. Plays falling apart. No adjustments. Nothing in the interior, which maybe is fine for the Mavs, but not the Nets. Someone, I forget who, made the astute comment that given the Nets struggle against the Mavs soft defense, they'd be in big trouble against the Spurs hard defense. Yep.

With the Spurs' inability to shoot FTs, I don't understand why the Nets didn't play more aggressive defense. Nets were dominated on the boards. 49-38 actually is closer than it looked.

The Nets looked very bad in these losses, from the coach to the players. 4 teams, ranging from the above-average Bucks to the reigning champs. 4 straight losses. Not good. Now, they get to face some easy teams to find themselves.
 

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Originally posted by <b>schub</b>!
The first half was a lot of fun to watch. The second half was about as frustrating as it gets.

I don't think it would have made much of a difference, but how can Byron play Rogers over Scalabrine again? Veal had a great game last night in Dallas, and he gets no PT in return!
Yep. Outscored 53-29 in the 2nd half and demolished in the 4th Q. Who was supposed to be guarding Turkoglu? I don't know if the players just ran out of gas or if they gave up. The last desperate gambit by Scott to foul the Spurs players was downright pathetic. If I was an NBA player, I'd be embarassed my coach would even try that tactic. I wonder what Kidd, future HoFer, thought of it. Worse, it just made the deficit grow.

I don't know if Veal would have made a difference, but he couldn't have played any worse. Rogers, K-Mart and RJ were shut down. A-Train was marginally better. Twin was humiliated. Veal would at least have hustled with energy, smart play and better effort. Against the Mavs, he was one of the only players who seemed to have a clue as to how to attack the Mavs soft zone, and A-Train and Veal seem to work fairly well together. Who knows? More rest for the starters. Energy. A closer game. An active body on defense. A productive pivot on offense. Maybe Veal would have made a difference.

The Nets haven't played too well since Scott reinstated Rogers as the 3rd forward. A good game by Rogers earns him 10 bad games of leeway. A good game by Veal earns him 3 garbage minutes the next night.
 
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