I don't get the Magic. Though they've had a lot of turnover, they still have the talent to win their fair share in the Atlantic Division, and probably the Eastern Conference as a whole. Pre-season, I thought they were going to be MUCH better than they have been.
This game will be more difficult than the win over the depleted, confused, disheartened 76ers, so we should be able to take more out of it in terms of judging Lawrence Frank. Not so much more difficult, though, that it will be a closely matched game.
I doubt the departure of Eddie Griffin will affect the team much on the floor. As RJ said, it's not like he was part of the rotation when he left.
If the game is close, I'm interested to see if Frank will use Planinic in meaningful game action. I hope to see more of Hubert Davis to find out what he has left, especially what he can do with his shot. With Griffin's future as a Net in further doubt, the expectations have been re-raised on Rogers to be a dynamic game-changer off the bench. As always, I hope Scalabrine receives more PT and a bigger role. A lot of folks are talking trade now, and the dead-line is coming up, so I imagine the more-expendable players will be trying out not only for Frank, but for Thorn and interested GMs around the NBA.
The game itself should be a Nets win. The sub-plots we take out of it will be more interesting.
I'm real curious about Planinic too. The Philly game was already a blowout when he came in late in the 1st quarter, and he didn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in him with his performance. I still hope Frank goes to him now in a real game.
I would guess that Rodney comes in first tonight, since he didn't play too terrible and Veal didn't exactly light it up. Veal should still see some time I would guess, because with just a 3-forward rotation, RJ and K-Mart end up playing some long stretches. Of course, Frank went to a 3-guard line-up for a few minutes on Tuesday as well.
Anyway, no snow in the forecast, so I'll be in class most of the game. Keep me updated!
Scalabrine didn't do anything to hurt himself either. Short minutes, got a few rebounds, played his all-around floor game and took the ball into Dalembert for a nice and-1, textbook for how to score on a quality shot-blocker. A typically productive stretch, and then came back for garbage time.
Pre-mature spec, but what the heck, that's what we're here for . . . there are two ways to interpret how Frank used Rogers AFTER the 3 quick fouls. He's hard-wired the rotation with Rogers as the 3rd forward and Scalabrine as a utility forward-center. Or, the short minutes in a blow-out implies Frank trusts Scalabrine more, and Rogers actually received the Planinic treatment (if you don't think the rookie is hard-wired as the back-up PG), ie, extended minutes in a blow-out situation to prove himself.
In any case, I doubt Scalabrine will be a DNP-CD candidate any time soon.
Jason Kidd has played great making most of his shots, he has 20 points i believe. Kittles has gotten a few fast break baskets but no three's or long range shots. Martin played well in the second quarter getting many offensive rebounds and putting them home. Zoran made a three and that was his only shot, he's getting good playing time. Collins actually scored!!!!!!!!! he made a nice jumper. Rj had an ok quarter with 6-8 points. Rogers is still awful, he missed two open layups, he should no longer play. The Nets bench really hasn't done much. RJ has done well against T-mac and has caused a few turnovers. Not a bad first half although Bogans has killed us.
Rodney goes 0 for 7, does nothing on the floor and gets 23 minutes, some at center. Meanwhile, Train gets 6 minutes and Veal gets 1 garbage minute. :upset:
Zoran got another shot in the rotation, hit a 3, but didn't do enough to stay in for more than a few minutes per half. He needs consistent minutes in order to get comfortable and gain confidence, but I don't know how much patience Frank will have with him.
Collins was solid. He did his job.
RJ did a great job on T-Mac. Suffocating defense all around from the Nets.
That run by Lucious in the 4th was just beautiful. Frank was even calling plays for him, something Byron probably wouldn't do.
Ever since the Dallas game, after which I discussed the problems of the Nets swithing on every screen, they changed their philosophy, and fight through. Somebody in the organization must be reading this board. I forgot to mention it after the San Antonio game, but I really noticed it tonight too. I'm so proud.
Not much to say about the game itself. Kidd's scoring, good D, T-Mac's toe, a ton of fastbreak points, and a poorly executing (but talented) Magic team was the story of the game. The Nets took an early lead that the Magic seemed incapable of overcoming, kind of like when the Nets lost to the Mavs. The Nets execution looks more spirited and crisper since Frank took over, but I'll get back to you after the Rockets game on whether I think the Nets half-court offense has really improved.
Interesting notes. Frank used a 3-guard alignment to sub for RJ, who still played too much at 42 minutes. Kittles has shot poorly and been mostly invisible over the last two games.
The interesting story is Frank and the bench. In media interviews, he's emphasized the need to develop a viable bench. Unlike Scott, who complained loud and long about the bench, Frank is actually doing something about it. The players in most need of fixing are Rogers, Harris and Planinic and it looks like they are receiving a 'greenhouse' quick-growth treatment from Frank. All three are responsible for important, primary roles off the bench. In two games, Frank has shown he'll do what he can as a coach to fix their problems. (Whether Thorn acquires a new player for the bench is a different discussion.)
Frank played them as much as reasonably possible, given the non-blow-out situation. He even left in the starters for too many minutes in order to give Harris, Rogers and Planinic as much on-court support as possible - as opposed to a dysfunctional bench mob on the court. Harris was sparked by, (A), playing SG rather than PG, and (B), being the recipient of plays designed to give him wide-open shots. It took him long enough before he started canning them. The Magic's poor defensive adjustment to picks and screens helped, too. Rogers played extended minutes, but he didn't spark like Harris did. Planinic played as much as Frank could risk at PG, which unfortunately meant Kidd played a 40 minute night. The rookie didn't look good, but then, he has to catch up on a lot of playing time.
Rogers IS being nurtured for the 3rd forward role by Frank, but I wouldn't interpret Frank's distribution of minutes over the last two games as a marginalisation of Scalabrine. A-Train also played short minutes tonight. I don't think it's a coincidence the two most reliable bench players this season played so few minutes. I'm inclined to believe Frank TRUSTS Veal and A-Train, and therefore is giving the majority of developmental playing time to Rogers, Harris and Planinic.
The Magic and the 76ers are the competitive equivalent of sparring partners, which allowed Frank some leeway to work for larger goals while coaching the game. The first real test of his coaching ability will be against the Rockets, not a WC uber-team, but still a tough match. On Saturday, we'll catch our first telling glimpse of how Frank will coach against good competition.