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Looking over box score, it's easy to forget the Nets went up 2 on Scalabrine's clutch 3-pter with about 4 minutes left in the 1st game at CAA. The Nets, despite a poor offense, no K-Mart and no Rogers, were in control for most of the game due to their defense. Mobley and Jackson kept pace for the Rockets until Francis made some big plays down the stretch and they pulled away.

There were some individual defensive lapses, but over-all, the Nets played a solid defensive game, especially on Yao. The key to defending Yao is setting a solid base - Twin's job - and then sending quick and/or unpredictable double-teams to disallow Yao from gathering himself for his favored finesse moves. Alow him the extra second to gather himself, and 7'6" Yao will score. Veal was big in that effort. He was assigned double-team duties on Yao, which allowed the guards to stay with their assignments. He was also the TEAM help defender, which allowed Twin to stay with Yao.

The Rockets figure to be a better team now, more accustomed to Van Gundy's program. The addition of Mark Jackson added a needed play-making dimension to the back-court.

After two glorified scrimmages, this game will be the first good test of Lawrence Frank as a head coach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Rockets are a very good defensive team. The Nets are having a hard time getting open looks.

Down by 9 at the half. Defense needs to step up on Francis and Mobley. Collins is doing a pretty good job on Yao.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great win on the road against a very good team.

Did anyone hear Lawrence Frank's post-game comments? He actually took the blame for the poor first half shooting, saying that they were taking too many jump shots!! Byron would never have done that. He also did a great job of explaining the adjustments they made, and gave "all credit to the players." I love this guy, even if he plays Rodney over Veal.

I guess NYC's thinking about Veal and Train was wrong. Train got only 12 minutes today and Veal was a DNP. The starters played a lot of minutes. He pulled Zoran very quickly in the 2nd quarter (he was getting schooled by Francis), and then went with the 3-guard rotation in the 2nd half. I thought he may have thrown the rookie in against Mark Jackson, who wouldn't be able to take him off the dribble. K-Mart and RJ each got very short rests in the 4th quarter. Rodney played decent, though.

I wouldn't be surprised if they bring Pack back, but who knows if Frank trusts him any more than Byron did. Pack didn't get any non-garbage time the last 2 weeks he was here.

Hubert Davis' 10-day contract will run out soon, and he hasn't been given a real shot, though.

Twin did a great job on Yao.

K-Mart was on fire in the 3rd quarter, and the Nets kept going to him. Good to see.

Defense was the key, though. The Nets put the clamps on in the 2nd half. Houston just couldn't score down the stretch.

Great free-throw shooting, too. 23-26, including 7-7 from K-Mart. Free throw shooting is one of the easiest ways to improve yourself. I wonder if Frank is stressing it. Stat comparisons between the 1st half of the season and the 2nd half will be much more interesting this year, since they will reflect the coaching change.
 

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Congratulations are due to Jason Collins. Even ahead of Martin, he's the MVP of the game for the defensive job he did on Yao. In Game 1, the Nets used Scalabrine double-teaming to defend Yao. In Game 2, Twin did the job with minimum help. He used all 5 fouls in the effort, too, indicative of his physical post defense. Stopping Yao just about doubles a team's chances to defeat the Rockets, and in this game, Twin's defense left the Rockets scrambling for answers.

Frank passed his first test. Players are working harder, he's making adjustments, and he managed the game well against Van Gundy, who is one of the top coaches in that respect. Oddly, the SG production, involving Kittles and Harris, has dropped since he took over. The only notable negative is Frank's continued over-use of the starters, which can be partially explained by the under-utilization of Veal and A-Train. To his credit, he continues to emphasize the development of Lu, Rogers and the rookie. Hopefully, as those three gain more of the coach's trust, the starters' minutes will drop to a more reasonable level.

Of the three, Planinic seems to be the first candidate to lose Frank's trust. For the first time as a head coach, Frank returned to the Harris/Kittles back-court, which - predictably - brought a rapid degradation of the Nets' half-court offense. At this time, Frank and the Nets appear to have no answer for backing up Kidd. I don't have much of an impression of Lu's 16 minutes. Rogers' evolution under Frank is interesting in that he's basically become a Veal imitation - a touch here, a touch there, and otherwise play a utility role.

I admit, I was wrong about Scalabrine and Williams insofar as my belief Frank would return them to the rotation against a better team. (It's possible, in A-Train's case, Twin was just defending Yao too well.) Instead, Frank adjusted what he's been doing since he took over. He opted to stick with the same players by way of increasing the starters' minutes. It's not an ideal long-term solution, but his bench reclamation project continues intact.

Has A-Train dropped to the bottom of the regular rotation and has Veal joined Armstrong and Davis in the DNP-CD ghetto? It's hard to believe Frank would demote his two most reliable bench players. The three games have been a good indication of what Frank wants to do, but it's too early to say. It's possible he has no problem playing his starters heavy minutes rather than expand his rotation. I guess if Rogers continues to play a Veal-like game, then he can duplicate Veal's role from Veal's stint as the 3rd forward. We'll need to wait and see on A-Train.

A well-matched, hard-fought, defensive game. Twin takes the MVP for stopping Yao, K-Mart scored like a star, Kidd outplayed Francis, and RJ eventually outplayed Jim Jackson. The Nets team defense has significantly improved since Frank took over, back to where they were last season, which probably is as much player motivation as better preparation.

Not quite the story-line of Van Gundy besting Riley, but not a bad imitation. A good win for the newest NBA coaching star.
 

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Coach, actually, called a time out when the team needed and didn't weight for a 10 point run...I like his enthusiasm. I'm not sold yet, but i enjoy his effort.
 

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Notable stat

The Nets won despite being beat 8-7 on fastbreak points. Should be a big confidence boost, having their best scoring weapon taken away and then beating a quality half-court team at their own game.
 

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I don't say this alot but collins was awesome today on defense against one of the best centers in the game. I can't remember us actually outscoring a team in the second half of a road game (or at least enough to catch up) and actually win this year with Byron. Great game Frank!!
 

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Originally posted by <b>schub</b>!

Did anyone hear Lawrence Frank's post-game comments? . . . I love this guy, even if he plays Rodney over Veal.
Agreed. His post-game remarks are already a can't-miss treat for in-depth basketball fans. The JVG comparison is dead-on with this guy. Somebody with the transcription skills (not me) ought to post Frank's post-game comments in the forum for educational purposes.

It goes without saying (I'll say it anyway!) I don't like that Veal pays the price in order to nurture Rogers. Veal has earned a bigger role and deserves better than garbage time and DNPs. Part of me still wonders if playing Rogers is Kidd's call. Given Thorn's limited maneuverability, though, developing Rogers is better for the team. If Frank can salvage Rogers as a productive player, maybe even the former 6th man of the year, that would be a coaching accomplishment.

This IS the same team that returned Harris to the bench despite a strong stint as a starter and questionable play by Kittles. I guess Veal's treatment isn't any worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For some reason, both Scott and Frank see something in Rodney that every fan who watches every game doesn't see, so I've developed a theory:

Rodney, aka "Debo", is the greatest practice player in the history of the NBA. He knocks down 3s while being tightly guarded, shuts down K-Mart in the low post, out-runs Kittles on the break, and showcases Jordan-esque acrobatics while taking the ball to the hole...


in practice.
 

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Nice pic. That could have been a clean block, even with the hand on the back. Yao got a star call on that one.

Originally posted by <b>schub</b>!
For some reason, both Scott and Frank see something in Rodney that every fan who watches every game doesn't see, so I've developed a theory:

Rodney, aka "Debo", is the greatest practice player in the history of the NBA. He knocks down 3s while being tightly guarded, shuts down K-Mart in the low post, out-runs Kittles on the break, and showcases Jordan-esque acrobatics while taking the ball to the hole...


in practice.
Or, maybe Scalabine actually makes a ton of mistakes on the court we as fans don't recognize. Beyond some over-zealousness on switches, I'm not sure what those would be.

I'm holding out that Frank is playing Rogers in order to raise his trade value. After all, he and Veal are redundant, which makes Rogers the most logical player to go in a trade.

Heck, Veal even sits at the far end of the bench again. He deserves better.
 

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i think he is Showcasing him:D for a trade.

unfortunately we don't have the luxury right now of giving the starters alot of rest...we gotta win now baby. He is going to have a real tight rotation the rest of the year i think.
 

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Frank's job is to win basketball games with the talent and depth he is given by Thorn. Had he rested the starters a bit longer and the Nets lost the game, he would have gotten all the blame for leaving the bench on the floor for too long.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Aurelino</b>!
Frank's job is to win basketball games with the talent and depth he is given by Thorn. Had he rested the starters a bit longer and the Nets lost the game, he would have gotten all the blame for leaving the bench on the floor for too long.
Hey, Aurelino.

Good point. There's no denying Frank coached a good game to beat a good team, and that's the important thing. Certainly, in the back-court, the poor play of Planinic and the Harris/Kittles backcourt compelled Frank to over-play Kidd.

Heavy minutes in the front court coupled with less playing time for Veal and A-Train makes less sense. It seems like Frank wants to cement a rotation, even if that means over-using his starters and under-using his two most reliable bench players.

It's still early and Frank has done a good job. He deserves the benefit of the doubt for where he's taking the bench and the team's minutes distro.
 
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