Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Game 15 - I've passed this way before...

I honestly was optimistic going to the arena tonite, and it wasn't just because I had been given upgraded seats. After a 3-1 roadtrip and a clutch win over the Lakers, I thought, geez, maybe they've turned the corner...

Here's Coach Franks record up to Dec 1:

2004 3-11 (albeit no Jason Kidd)
2005 7-8
2006 6-9
2007 7-7

I wouldn't call his talent laden teams "fast starters"...

Without exaggeration, probably 50 games in the Frank era have followed this script:

1st qtr - close, JKidd on the bench at the 3 min mark
2nd qtr - Nets fall behind double digits as Kidd watches from the bench; by the time he comes in the damage has been done.
Half - Nets down around 10.
3rd qtr - Nets close the gap.
4th qtre - Nets get oh so close but lose.

Tonite was one of those 50.

The Nets were down only 1 at the 1:24 mark when Kidd, predictably, is benched. When he returns to the game, at 8:27 of the third, they're already down 10.

Number of timeouts called by Frank during that time - 0

At the 5:00 mark, Memphis is up 18, 51-33.

Number of timeouts called by Frank during that time - 0

By the end of the half, the Nets are down 13. If they expect to win, it will take a gargantuan effort.

FFWD to 2:05 left in the game. RJ's foul shots have just made it 99-98 Memphis.

Bad call (refs say Nets knocked ball out of Lowry's hands, when in fact he had lost control)
Bad defense (easy layup by Lowry)
Bad foul (luckily tho Lowry misses)
Bad shot
Bad foul
Bad shot
Bad foul

By then it's 1:15 left and the Nets are down 5.

But Lawrence Frank has wisely hoarded his precious time outs so he can use them when the game is out of reach.

The Nets are 3-6 at home, the second worst home record in the East. Only Miami, Seattle and Minnesota have worse home records in the entire NBA.

The Nets shot 45%, outrebounded Memphis, Kidd had another triple double, and had only one more turnover.

A coach has many functions. But one of them is in-game strategy and tactics. Frank does not know how to manage a run by the opposing team. At one point the Nets closed to 12, 51-39, closing the gap from 51-33. Memphis immediately called timeout. A minute later the Grizzlies were back up by 15. The half ended with them up by 13. The timeout worked - it short circuited NJ's run.

Had it been Frank, no timeout would have been called until the lead was down to 5 or 3. I know: I've yelled from my seat at the arena or in my living room for him to call the timeout earlier, throw some cold water on a run. No dice.

A fan at the postgame show on the radio brought up that Frank is the problem, not the players, or chemistry or "finding themselves" (I hate that last phrase - if you don't know what kind of team you are after playing together for 2 1/2 years, you will never, never, ever know...). His substitutions are odd (anyone remember Nenad Krstic? How about the much ballyhooed Magloire? Neither has played at all, not one second, in the last 3 games. How about Malik Allen who put in 18 productive minutes and 8 points in the win against the Lakers? How was he rewarded? Did not play...)

Carino and Capshaw hemmed and hawed, making one excuse after another, until finally Carino brought up the truth - they just signed Frank to a two year extension beyond this one. He's not going anywhere.

So thus we are condemned.

A coach with a feel for the in game game would have this team at 10-5 or even 11-4.

The Nets, for the 4th consecutive year under Lawrence Frank, a team laden with talent, limps into December with a losing record. And an embarrassing record at home.

All because their coach does not know when to call a time out.

Rod - aren't you paying attention?

Frank - when are you going to decide that YOUR STYLE IS NOT WORKING.

It sure would be nice if Bruce Ratner actually cared....

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