Monday, November 12, 2007

Game 6 - Big three test, big test three

So, 4-1 Nets at home against America's new darlings, the trade and free agent concocted Boston Celtics, 4-0. If the Nets win they'll be a half game up on the Celtics. If they lose, down 2 in the loss column. More importantly, if they win, people will be saying, hey, don't forget the Nets! If they lose, well, nobody's gonna touch Boston in the Atlantic Division, especially not the Nets.

The Nets actually win the first quarter by 2, and with a minute to go in the half are down by only four. Boston coughs it up and the Nets have the ball with under a minute, down only 4.

Hey Lawrence, how about calling a time out and setting up a play...

VC misses a technical free throw, but the Nets still have the ball. RJ misses a layup, but the Nets get the rebound and still have the ball, with a full 24 on the clock.

Hey Lawrence, how about calling a time out and setting up a play...

With 41 seconds to go, VC launches a three, of course. Clang, of course.

Boston gets the ball and what do they do? They CALL TIMEOUT AND SET UP A PLAY. KG gets off a shot down low and the Celtics go up by 6 at the half.

Yet again, as they have during the entire Lawrence Frank tenure, the Nets allow the margin to widen in the last minute because their coach cannot manage the clock properly.

So, instead of a 2 or 4 point deficit, it's 6. Totally unnecessarily so.

Boston gets the ball to start the second half, and with 6 second gone by, Paul Pearce scores on a layup and now it's an 8 point game.

The teams go back and forth sloppily on the court, but a minute later Boston reaches the magical 10 point lead mark. Every coach in the NBA, especially after giving up a throwaway basket to end the half and looking very sloppy to begin this one, would call a timeout here. Not Lawrence Frank.

RJ misses a 3. Ray Allen sinks two free throws. 12 point deficit. Sloppy play on both sides, up and down the court, but at 7:54, despite several Boston turnovers, they score again to up their lead to 13. J Kidd launches a three, misses. Luckily Boston misses a lay up, and then miracle of miracles Frank calls a timeout.

Unfortunately, by then the Nets are not down 6 or 8 anymore, but 13.

The Nets don't score out of the timeout and 3 more minutes of sloppy play ensue, during which the Nets score 2 points, both on free throws. When the dust settles, Boston has scored 8 more, and the Nets are down 19 with 4 minutes left in the half.

The game is over. The Nets make a late "run" to shave the lead to 7 with 40 seconds left, but that's it.

How do these games get out of hand for the Nets so quickly?

It should be clear - any fair minded person would see that the Nets had a chance to go into the locker room at the half only down 2, but instead, due to bad clock management and poor instincts for the flow of the game, their coach allows them to go in down 6, totally unnecessarily.

And then, to start the half, in the face of abysmally sloppy play by his team, he allows the deficit to continue to deepen until it's 13.

Thirteen points down to a juggernaut who's feeling it and knows the Nets are probably the only threat to them taking the division in a cake walk. Thirteen points on the road. Here, Lawrence Frank effectively says, take it.

It was supposed to be the Nets' Big Three vs the Celtics Big Three. It was also the third big test of the year for the Nets (Chicago, Toronto, Boston).

Instead, VC goes down in the second half, out indefinitely, and the Celtics walk away with an easy victory, having been totally out coached.

4-2. Already two games down in the loss column.

All for lack of a well placed timeout...

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