It will be great if the Nets can finish off this stretch of games with a win going into the all-star break.
It won't be easy, though. The Cavs game is full of 'trap' game potential.
Twin is out and Silas will be sure to milk the size advantage with Ilgauskas. The Nets just played a bruising, closely fought game last night and are travelling to what will probably be a physical game tonight. The Nets starters carried a heavy load. I wonder how K-Mart's bruised tailbone feels and how Boozer will take advantage. The Cavs are easy to underestimate, but they are an evolving team that has upgraded a lot since the season began by trading raw talent for proven quality. The Nets are at risk of being tired and sloppy after the 'high' of the Pistons game and with the all-star break coming up. The Cavs will be ready to play this game. They're chasing the 8th spot, they're out to prove themselves, they're at home and coming in with a day of rest.
I don't think the Nets are looking past the Cavs but it would be understandable if they're not at their best. I hope Frank will go deep into his bench earlier in the game if it looks like the starters are lagging. Frank has been doing a heckuva job so far, and tonight's game will test him beyond the Xs and Os. Silas and the Cavs just might be the first crew to beat Frank.
Zoran picked up 3 fouls in less than 5 minutes. He always seems to pick up several fouls very quickly. Another reason the Nets need a veteran back up pg.
Crazy 3rd quarter from everyone. Kittles scored 20 in that quarter alone and K-Mart had a great block against Boozer. Rodney Rogers is diving on the ground for loose balls! Looks like it's going to be another double digit win.
Wow! another huge third quarter. I really thought we would lose this game. We had all the excuses, playing back to back, on the road, star players playing 40+min last night. But it looks like another blowout win, though its still early.
Streaky players can really bust games open like this. The Cavs had no defense to stop Kittles, and if they did, they didn't use it. 20 points in one quarter... and it wasn't like he was heaving up every shot he could've taken.
This is why Frank is such an amazing coach. He goes to the guy on fire, and it works.
Why should LeBron be an all star? This game proves he is NOT worthy.
Wow. Great win. When it was going back and forth early in the 3rd, I had a feeling that it would stay that way, and it would come down to the wire, but the Nets really stepped up there defense and rebounding again, just like against the Pistons.
I thought it was great that they ran a play for Kittles to start the 2nd half, considering he had only taken one shot in the 1st. Who would have known, though, that that would lead to a 20 point quarter. Maybe El Frank did.
They got killed on the boards in the 1st half. I'm not sure what the difference was in the 2nd half. Maybe the zone pushed Ilgauskas and Boozer out away from the basket a little.
The starters played a lot of minutes these last 2 nights, but they did play a lot of zone. Maybe that allows them to go a little extra, since its less tiring then man.
Congratulations to Hubert Davis, for taking his first shot, and scoring his first points as a Net!
Post game interviews with Kidd, Thorn, Jefferson and Martin available on YESNetwork.com.
"I don't care how big you are, man. He got inches on me, he got weight on me, but its all about your heart and determination. I feel I play as hard as anybody in this league. That's really what its all about." - Kenyon Martin on matching up with Ilgauskas
Against the Cavs, once again - an emerging trend under Frank - the team started off slow, even looked like an overmatched team, then ratcheted up the defense, sped up the fastbreak, and ran away with a dominant win. K-Mart showed which PF deserves the all-star berth. Kidd showed, whoever may be the Future of the Eastern Conference, he is still the Present. Kittles flamed in the 3rd Q from outside and on the break. He even created for himself on one play. Game MVP, however, again goes to Kidd. After a slow start, Kidd got his rest and the 2nd team struggled. Then Kidd returned and the blow-out commenced.
The team has missed Twin's 6'11 260 lbs and the 'little things' he offers at C, but it's debateable how valuable he actually is in terms of how many minutes per game he deserves. A-Train falls short in the 'little things' areas of the game and he shouldn't be playing 35 MPG - it's a matter of diminishing returns. But he's a better rebounder, low post presence and scorer, ie, the 'big things' areas for Cs. Rogers has shown potential as a 5-10 MPG fill-in at C, too. Twin's MPG had already dropped to 24.4 MPG under Frank. I wonder where Frank will go with the minutes distro when Twin returns. The best case scenario is for Twin to return healthy, energized and, most importantly, mobile after the all-star break. As of now, the C still looks like an area that needs addressing, although the team's Cs most likely won't change this season unless Zo makes a comeback.
During the win streak, the half-court offense has improved, in terms of disciplined execution, to the point where it can shred a bad defense, but the areas the team has most improved are defense, and to a lesser extent, rebounding. Both have triggered the break. Rodney Rogers has dramatically picked up his level of play off the bench and is emerging as a legitimate Sixth Man. The quality of coaching, of course, has improved. However, other problem areas haven't been solved. Planinic is struggling at back-up PG, perimeter offense is still shaky, possibly related to the starters' heavy minutes (despite the little coaching tricks Frank is using to conserve energy), and C is still a disadvantage. The team is still highly vulnerable when Kidd leaves the floor. The bench players, including Rogers, have shown they can fill-in around Kidd, but the 2nd team struggles on their own. Veal is showing better aggression going to the rim on offense; he's rushing and the results aren't there yet, but it's a step in the right direction.
It'll be interesting to find out if Thorn will swing a deal or sign another body to shore up the back-court. It doesn't look like Hubert Davis is in the Nets' future plans, but it's possible the Nets are stashing him for the post-season, Stever Kerr fashion. Rod Strickland wants out of Orlando and he'd be a good fit as a short-term rental at back-up PG.
Well, for a regular season run, with all the turmoil the team has faced this season, and the hole the team had dropped into before this dominant stretch began, this win streak is about as good as it gets. Frank is racking up a slew of obscure records. I won't list them here. Given what Frank has shown so far, I don't doubt the streak will pick up again next Wednesday against the Hawks. Frank has a good week to evaluate, reflect and cook up some new stuff. The players are going back to work on Monday. Two good days of practice should have the team fired up and ready for the last 21.