Friday, April 28, 2006

From O'Neal to 'Oh, no!'

The Nets have their problems, quite obviously. Down 2-1 in a best-of-7 doesn’t look so good when you’re the No. 3 seed and you’re up against a No. 6 team that was talking about shopping Jermaine O’Neal once the season was done.

Couple of quick thoughts on O’Neal. His 37 points on 12 of 15, 15 rebounds and four blocks were all parts motivation and preparation – the byproduct the Nets feared after his foul-plagued efforts in Game 1 and 2, coming back home and paying a $15,000 fine for his measured complaints against the officials.

Richard Jefferson described O’Neal’s game as a “damn near historic performance.” We’ll go out on a limb and say history like that will be difficult to repeat in Game 4 tomorrow. In addition to the Nets being the more desperate team, O’Neal doesn’t usually put together big games consecutively. In fact, he had four 30-plus scoring games this season and averaged only 16.5 points in the four following games.

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That said, the Pacers dismantled the Nets on both ends in their 107-95 win. O’Neal stopped trying to back in every shot, kept it moving, turned toward the basket and knocked them down – even from outside his preferred range.

Anthony Johnson, of course, is still flooring everyone here. The Net cast-off had 25 points and eight assists and no turnovers….Sensing the criticism Jason Kidd is getting for his defense, Lawrence Frank was quick to defend the Nets’ captain today.

“I can break down every one of AJ’s scores last night, and maybe eight points were with Jason guarding him,” Frank said. “It’s not apples-to-apples.”

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If the Nets can get stop pulling the ball out of the basket, Kidd is on the record for wanting to run more. Both after the game last night and today, he reiterated the topic today as “something we have to look at."

The Nets were a much-improved halfcourt team this year, but this could be Kidd’s current preference on the road given the desperation going into Game 4. It’s harder for jump shooters to be consistent on the road (see VC: 8-for-11 in the first half, 0-for-10 in the second). And Krstic did not have a good game last night (nine points, 3-for-9, fouled out in 28 minutes) and let his frustrations get the best of him.

Said Nenad: “When I get it in the post, they shrink the floor. I was thinking I could go into the paint, but there’s a lot of people in the paint. And on pick and pops, sometimes they go under. . . ...I have to watch the tape. But they’re doing a lot of things to confuse me.”


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The Nets will be able to see what they’re made of in Game 4…In past years, the Nets were always as good as their desperation in the playoffs (excluding last year’s first-round matchup against Miami or whenever they were overmatched in the Finals)…. A win today, and the Nets are smelling like a rose with two of the last three at home. A loss and they’re on the brink of having to answer lot of questions they don’t want to hear.

The Pacers’ motivation came ever so eloquently from the ever-philosophical Mr. Stephen Jackson:

“We have a chance to put a foot on their throat and we have to take advantage of it.”

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Peja’s questionable again for Game 4…Tinsley out again. . . We’ll blog after tomorrow’s game is finished and the game story is sent, if you can’t wait for the Sunday papers for your Nets fix.

6 Comments:

Blogger bballfreak said...

Great blog once again. Its just mind boggling to me how Kidd is getting abused by Anthony Johnson. I have never seen Kidd allowing anyone to go baseline on him for a reverse layup like AJ did. How a guy can shutdown 2 of the top 5 PGS in the game in Nash and Billups on back and back nights but get schooled by a backup PG is beyond me.

3:30 PM  
Blogger awesomepossum said...

Johnson is part of the problem, but O'Neal is the bigger problem. If that guy can still make all those shots fading away, we're in some serious trouble. If we lose tommorow, we're in some serious trouble. I hope Vince brings it tommorow. Jermaine is becoming a bigger problem than Shaq. We need our own superman. The big three better earn that ESPN cover.

5:15 PM  
Blogger minruth said...

Where's the BEAST!?!

Jermaine Oneal stepped up like stars do in playoff games but there was no BEAST in New Jersey! No one responded! And Vince says "oh well" in the press conference afterward? Are you kidding me! Kidd was showed out by Parker in the Championship that one year and now he is being showed out by AJ. Anyway, I do believe that game one was a fluke - still. NJ was rusty...and this last game was disrespect. NJ did not respect Indiana. NJ will win the next three but they better find the BEAST! (one last word for Vince: Kobe would not have gone 0 for 10 with the other teams star stepping up like that!)

6:30 PM  
Blogger bballfreak said...

Carter is never going to be Kobe Bryant. Lets be honest here. He doesnt have the same passion for the game as Kobe. He plays to the crowd too much.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Bob Considine said...

Good feedback guys...

I honestly do expect the Nets best tomorrow, simply based on desperation, and I don't expect the same out of Jermaine O'Neal in Game 4.

BUt then, I'm one of the many who picked the Nets in five!

Enjoy the game...we'll blog tomorrow after the game.

Bob

9:44 PM  
Blogger Greg J said...

I'm glad to see the Nets settled for less jumpers and drove to the bucket more in game 4. This made a difference in quarter 4, when Carter kept driving and getting fouled. Glad to see AJ turn the ball over so much, Kidd played him tough.

3:25 PM  

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