Wednesday, May 03, 2006

History lessons

Lots of talk about the Nets’ history in closeout games today…well, at least in the Jason Kidd era. There have been 10 such games since 2002 and New Jersey has gone 7-3. Four of those closeout wins were on the road…But the freshest in the Nets’ collective memory was losing two in a row – Games 6 and 7 – to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference semis in 2004.

“We thought we did our job in that Game 5,” said the man for which the era is named. “We won that in triple overtime and coming back for Game 6, we let (it) get away. That was the one that probably stands out the most.”

We know you love this stuff…so here’s a breakdown of the Nets’ closeout opportunities since 2002. (Please hold your applause until all of the games have been read)

Date - Opponent - Game # - Score - Net result
4/30/02 - @ Indiana - Game 4 - 97-74 - L
5/2/02 - vs. Indiana - Game 5 - 120-109 (2OT) - W
5/15/02 - vs. Charlotte - Game 5 - 103-95 - W
5/21/02 - @ Boston - Game 6 - 96-88 - W
5/1/03 - @ Milwaukee - Game 6 - 113-101 - W
5/12/03 - @ Boston - Game 4 - 110-101 (2OT) - W
5/24/03 - vs Detroit - Game 4 - 102-82 - W
4/25/04 - @ Net York - Game 4 - 100-94 - W
5/16/04 - vs. Detroit - Game 6 - 81-75 - L
5/20/04 - @ Detroit - Game 7 - 90-69 - L

As long as we’re getting all historical, today marks a playoff anniversary the Nets would rather forget. It was Game 1 of their second-round series against Detroit, which always gets forgotten because of Scalabrine and the whole triple-overtime thing in Game 5 and how the Nets coughed away the series in Game 6 and 7.

The score in Game 1, two years ago today, was 78-56, Pistons. That’s right, 56, as in, slightly over point per minute. As in the lowest-point output EVER in a playoff game. Richard Jefferson was 1-for-12. The Nets shot 27.1 percent after having eight days off.

“We were going for the lowest score,” Kidd said afterwards.

So where are the Pacers heads now? They’re hard to read. Jermaine O’Neal was talking about how worn down the team was after Game 5 last night, after all of the distractions and injuries of the past two seasons.

Today in Indiana, Rick Carlisle was talking about “throwing the kitchen sink” at the Nets. And it sounded like some of the players were buying in.

“It could be the end of the season,” Anthony Johnson said. “Bottom line. I’m not ready to go home yet. I feel we still have a lot left to accomplish as a team. It’s time for us to step up and make some plays down the stretch and pull out a win.”

“Technically, we are playing with six guys,” said O’Neal, one of the six guys. “It’s hard to win a series, but we still have an opportunity to win it.”
One of the downers of this series was been just how much the attention the officiating is getting. It seems as though every off day there is jockeying for position on how the game should be called, based on how they got ripped off last game. And that goes for both sides.

Imagine what happens if the Nets face Miami in the conference semis. It seems the whole series could be determined whether Shaq’s in foul trouble or not.

But as long as we’re still in this series, count RJ as one of the guys not happy about how his calls have been going.

“I think I shot nine free throws in two games, in 90 minutes of playing,” he said.

Technically, it was 13 free throws in 84 minutes over the last two games. But you get the idea.


Blogger Greg J said...

hi Bob,
a 7-3 record in closeout games? That's a pretty respectable record.

On the Miami/Chicago series, I'd like to see Chicago take it to game 7, then win. Should the Nets advance, Chicago would be more worn down physically and emotionally after a game 7.

But if it's Miami and Shaq, bring em on!

But of course, the Nets need to focus on game 6 now. Let's see more of Carter's inside play and Nenad's jumpers.

Go Nets!

4:19 PM  
Blogger Bob Considine said...

Hi Greg,

I can totally see Chicago forcing a Game 7 as they go back home tomorrow. Their homecourt means something in this series... I don't think they're ready to go away yet...although, they should be kicking themselves for not doing a better job in Game 5 with Wade hurt and Shaq in foul trouble.


5:10 PM  

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