Blazers/Nets Pre-Thoughts

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….do I really have to talk about the Nets?

I’m not sure what there is to be said about these Nets. I mean, New Jersey is currently at 0-14. Three games away from making all sorts of the wrong kind of history. We have officially entered this awkward ‘Lawrence Frank is about to get fired’ period that I personally am not a fan of. They have been injury plagued all year. The IZOD Center is probably the worst home-court advantage in the league. Everytime I see that goose-egg next to their record I wonder how their year would have gone had Damien Wilkins not hit a game-winner. Jay-Z is a couple losses away from telling radio stations around the country to just bleep the word Nets out of ‘Empire State of Mind’ as giving them high-fives will kill his swag.

The Nets biggest problem is their roster. They have a nice core of Brook Lopez, Devin Harris and Chris Douglas Roberts. All of those guys can play. Devin Harris is looking dangerous coming off that groin injury. I like Lopez’ game but I feel like we have the bodies to make him work. Terrence Williams has shown flashes and we all know think we know that Courtney Lee is better than he has shown. They are full of players who should be all 1st-team Mediocre. Not to say these guys don’t have talent, I’m sure some of them would be great with good teams…but no one can tell me they all should be playing together. No team should have Najera, Bobby Simmons and Trenton Hassell. None. Your shouldn’t have to sub your big man and look at your bench and see Josh Boone or Sean Williams. Your team probably shouldn’t be missing Yi this much. I mean we knew the Nets were in a rebuilding phase but this…this is pretty bad.

I mean honestly, name one thing the Nets do well. Shoot the ball?

Keys to the game

  • Play Blazer Basketball. Don’t play down to the Nets level. I think tonight will be a test of this team’s maturity, character and identity. Is Portland going to win comfortably like the Nuggets did last night or are they going to allow the Nets to stick around and make this a dogfight? I’ll be disappointed if the latter happens.
  • Big men: go….to….work. Nets have no interior defense. I love Brook Lopez and all but check out the stats they have been giving up to big men:
  1. 11/11 vs. PHI – Mareese Speights 19 pts, 9 rebs, 8/15 from the field
  2. 11/13 @ ORL – Dwight Howard: 26 pts, 12 rebs, 10/14 from the field
  3. 11/14 @ MIA – Udonis Haslem: 28 pts, 12 rebs, 12/20 from the field
  4. 11/17 vs IND – Roy Hibbert: 19 pts, 10 rebs, 9/11 from the field
  5. 11/18 @ MIL- Andrew Bogut: 21 pts, 11 rebs, 10/18 from the field
  6. 11/21 vs. NYK – David Lee: 16 pts, 12 rebs, 4/13 from the field
  7. 11/24 @ DEN – Nene: 17 pts, 9 rebs, 8/13 from the field

I honestly think you get the point. I’m looking for a big night from Oden, LMA or frankly both. Oden could be able to pound on Brook Lopez while I see LaMarcus having no problems unless he wants to shoot Sheed-esque fadeaways from the baseline.

  • Keep the turnovers down. I only write this because Portland is so much better when they don’t turn the ball over. I mean obviously against a poopy offensive team you don’t want to let them run, but the Blazers just have to get used to staying solid with the ball.
  • Second unit play. The Blazers bench has been a key all season, tonight they can put the nail in New Jersey’s coffin.

Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a game that Portland should win. Not to discount New Jersey or anything, they should come out and work hard and be extremely hungry but we’ll all be super disappointed if Portland allows the Nets to outwork them in the Rose Garden. We’ve talked about how great of a home court advantage the RG is, well…great home teams don’t let winless teams come into their building and have a chance. They stomp them out early. Look what Denver did to the Nets last night or what the Lakers did to the Knicks. Portland has got to get a win, a loss is unacceptable.

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