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- RJ Says Blame Me Him For Nets Defensive Struggles - Also Update On Collins -

http://www.nypost.com/sports/nets/54190.htm


RJ TAKES THE BLAME FOR NETS' WOEFUL 'D'

By FRED KERBER
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November 15, 2005 -- The Nets have been brutal defensively. Richard Jefferson says he is a big reason why. "Me, personally, my defense," said Jefferson when asked why the Nets' defense warrants executions. "I can't let the opposing three-man score 65 on us on back-to-back nights. I can't be giving up those kind of points.

"Even though it's a team game and not every point is on me, I take responsibility. If we shut those guys down, both games are different. If I do a better job, those games are different. So it's on myself. I'm most disappointed in myself right now."

Jefferson pointed to the 35 points fired in by Tracy McGrady, one night after Ron Artest ripped the Nets for 30. If that pair puts up mortal numbers, the Nets can win both. Instead, the Nets looked comatose, and two entries went into the loss column. Jefferson has another stern challenge tonight with Rashard Lewis, who is coming off a 41-point night for Seattle.

The ghastly numbers were there in the boxscore. Jefferson didn't need to stick his chin out yesterday and shout, "I stunk" to the world.

"But it's true. If the starting three gets 65 on you back to back, you're not doing something right. You have to take responsibility for that," said Jefferson. "When I first got here, I was about defense. I got my chance to play because of my defense. Will anybody hit those many on me back-to-back the rest of the season? Probably not. I'm going to take pride in my defense and say it's not going to happen again."

So while Jefferson was whipping himself and accepting responsibility for the Pacers and Rockets banging home 23 3-pointers and shooting a combined .493 (69-of-140), coach Lawrence Frank was waving aside the notion while Jason Kidd was pointing to team-wide mental toughness that was as stout as a Fluffer-nutter.

"This is who we are right now. I'm a realist," said Frank, who then addressed Jefferson's blame-me claim as "the farthest thing from the truth. It's a total team responsibility. Richard is showing leadership skills and accountability. It falls on all our shoulders."

So what exactly has been the most disturbing turn in the 3-4 start? Is it surrendering a ridiculous .424 on 3-pointers? Or an average of 96.4 points?

"More or less, our mental toughness," stressed Kidd. "When things are not going right, not to just fragment. Just to stay together and work through the tough times. This is about peaks and valleys, and we just have to find a way to get out of that lull and get on a high."

The gnawing part is the Nets feel they are making strides offensively despite feeling their way through and trying to get a rotation together. Minutes have been inconsistent as Frank looks for the right combos.

"We're averaging 94 points and that's even without running. We haven't started running yet. There's a lot of things that we have to do, not just defensively, but offensively. It's not so much the rotation, it's executing the gameplan," Kidd said.

"Some [problems] are game-plan mistakes, and understanding exactly what the coach wants. And some of it is getting everyone on the same page. Some of the best defensive teams we have, you understand each other. You know strengths and weaknesses of your teammates," Jefferson said. "We're getting there. But I'm making game-plan mistakes early."
 

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http://www.nypost.com/sports/nets/54189.htm


COLLINS IFFY FOR SONIC BATTLE

By FRED KERBER
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November 15, 2005 -- NET NOTES

The Nets say they're not worried about Jason Collins. Yet.

The Nets' defensive-minded forward has been battling a lower right leg strain, probably brought on by over-compensating a sore knee. Collins underwent an MRI and bone scan Sunday, and the results were negative. Collins sat yesterday's workout and is questionable for tonight in the Meadowlands against Seattle, although he hopes to play.

"I had a good [weight room] workout and it feels better. [I'm] just trying to get it well enough so I can play and finish a game," said Collins, who sat Friday in Indiana, then started Saturday against Houston but bailed in the third quarter. "At the beginning of the third quarter, I turned and cut and had a shooting pain. I had the leg give out, basically."

The Nets insist Collins will get the time he needs but are confident this is not a gloom-and-doom scenario.

"It's a day-to-day thing. We should be fine. I'm not worried," said GM Ed Stefanski.

"Thankfully, the [tests] were negative," said coach Lawrence Frank. "The way they describe it, it's almost a forest fire down there. They need to let it calm down and we'll go from there."

The Nets strengthened their depth question over the summer, but some of the players brought in — Scott Padgett and Lamond Murray — haven't had a big chance to contribute. Both average 7.2 minutes. But Frank and the players say it's still in the feeling-out stage.

"If you look at guys off the bench, we're seeing better production. With production comes play," Frank said. "But it's a process and I think when you look from that Miami game, you see guys taking some steps."
 

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Good job RJ for stepping up to the plate. I don't doubt he can bring back that defensive mental toughness, or that the team can, for that matter. He knows how to play tough D, and it looks like he's fully aware that he needs to start now. With his work ethic, I think we'll see an improvement.
Hopefully the rest of the team will catch on.
 

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We're averaging 94 points and that's even without running. We haven't started running yet. There's a lot of things that we have to do, not just defensively, but offensively. It's not so much the rotation, it's executing the gameplan," Kidd said.
This is very interesting, for obvious reasons.
 
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way to be a leader RJ!!! rj has grown so much on and off the court, his basketball skills and his basketball mentality. of course it isnt RJ's fault, but thats the type of guy he is. put the pressure on him so the rest of the team is loose, remind you of anyong? oh yeah, our captain JKidd. you gotta play TEAM defense to stop superstars in this league and we are not playing team D and superstars are getting any shot they want off us. sooner or later our D has to get better and it does start with RJ. this is a good time to be playing a struggling, yet dangerous, team in seattle.
 

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Its good to see that RJ has matured a lot both in his basketball skills and in his thoughts, beliefs and character.

Hope he continues to mature and improve! :clap:
 

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that tells ya wat kind of person rj is hes a very great player
GO RJ!
 

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