Friday, January 11, 2008

Game 36 - BIG Game, BAD Loss

As the crowd was filing out of the Meadowlands Arena, the PA system played the rock anthem "Hold Your Head High".

The Nets had just lost, by 9 points, a game where they led going into the last quarter by 5. They had done it by scoring a mere 9 points for the ENTIRE quarter.

Hold your head high.

They scored the first goal of the final period six seconds in to lead 70-63. By the time they scored again, there were exactly 6 minutes left in the game and they TRAILED 76-73, a 13-3 run, altho a second earlier it had been a 13-0 run.

Hold your head high.

At one point in the fourth quarter the Nets were shooting better from the field than from the free throw line. And they were shooting 38% from the field.

Hold your head high.

If Jason Kidd, who well before the end of the 3rd was 8-9-8 but got only one more assist the entire game, didn't hit a 3, a THREE mind you, with 6 SECONDS left, the Nets would have scored only SIX POINTS in the entire fourth quarter and would have lost by double digits.

Hold your head high.

Lawrence Frank is a miserable in game coach. And if he actually believes the drivel he spews out to the media, he is a dolt as well.

Every fan who went to the game tonite knew it was a big game. All the players knew it was a big game. The refs, as embarrassing a job as they did tonite, knew it was a big game. Doc Rivers knew it was a big game. WFAN, who broadcast it, knew it was a big game. A cursory glance at the last few posts in this blog reveals how big this game was. A cursory glance at the schedule would reveal how big this game was.

Everyone, in short, knew how big this game was.

Everyone, of course, but the delusional Lawrence Frank.

This is just one of 82 on the schedule. Oh really? Well, coach, if you really believe that, you are so out of touch with reality it's not clear anything can reach you.

Your club has been scuffling FOR THE 4TH YEAR IN A ROW UNDER YOUR GUIDANCE the entire season. They needed to win 8 of the last 10 just to get a game over .500. They had already been embarrassed twice by a Celtics team that stole the phrase "Big Three" that your incompetence squandered. Your team faces a schedule that features 10 road games over the next 14, including a 6 game West Coast swing, and two of the home games are the next two. You next face one of the hottest teams in the NBA in Portland, a team you beat on the road who is itching to exact revenge, at home, which has been a house of horrors.

If you win you are 2 games over .500 for the first time since Nov 10, when you were similarly humiliated at home by these same Celtics. If you win your team had made a statement in humbling the team with the most buzz and best record in the NBA, to say nothing of your own division. If you win your team feels like Tuesday's thrashing by Charlotte was an aberration, that they are now coming into their own.

If you lose you are back to .500. You have lost the 3rd of 4 games to a division rival. If you lose badly all the old questions will arise, not just in the minds of the fans, of the media, but of your players themselves. They will take that doubt into a game against the buzzsaw that is Portland, against the Knicks who your own shoddy leadership has given them confidence against your team, and into a West Coast trip, the longest of the year.

A win and at the 41 game mark, the halfway point of the season, and you have a great shot to be 23-18 or 22-19, or back from the road at 28-19 or 27-20.

A loss, a bad loss, a characterless loss, and you are likely to go into a tailspin, be at 19-22 or 20-21 at the midpoint and 20-27 back from the road.


Bear Bryant, who knew a thing or two about coaching, and that includes knowing how to coach in game, once said, When the team wins, it's 'they'. When the team loses, it's 'I'. But listening to your postgame pap one would swear you were the brother in law of the owner's estranged daughter. You put more distance between yourself and responsibility than the C's did from your team in the 4th.

If the Nets are irratic, it's because YOU haven't done what needs to be done to fix it. If they shoot 37% from the FOUL LINE it's because YOU haven't impressed on them how important it is. If they take bad shots and don't rebound when it counts, it's because YOU didn't have a sense of your team floundering. If your team experiences an 18-3 run by the other team TWICE in the same game, it's because you didn't have the brains enough to know when to call timeout to throw water on the run and set up a decent play.

Nobody, Lawrence, NOBODY I'VE EVER SEEN COACH IN THE NBA, has a substitution pattern like this:

4:33 Wright Substitution replaced by Nachbar
4:30 Jefferson Substitution replaced by Wright
3:21 Wright Substitution replaced by Jefferson

You hold onto your timeouts like they were gold, then call one when your team is down 10 with 1:36 to go.

THIS IS INANE! It is stupid. It is thrashing about. Full of sound and fury and signifying NOTHING.

You are responsible for a team that includes two sure fire hall of famers in Jason Kidd and Vince Carter and a budding superstar in Richard Jefferson. You've had them for nearly 4 years. Yet you've barely been able to guide them to more than a .500 record, in a pitifully weak Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

You are incompetent as an in-game coach. You make the same mistakes over and over. You are numb to the nuances of the game.

You have a 5 point lead and your team is surging going into the 4th. Your captain, your leader, your coach on the floor knows how big this game is, even if you don't, you dolt. Yet you eviscerate any chance at winning the game by sitting him for the first 3 minutes of the fourth, a period where your team is sputtering, fouling, fawning and failing and is in desperate need of leadership, leadership that you yourself cannot provide.

You won't call a timeout to throw water on the other teams' runs, but you sure as hell will douse those of your own team with your mechanistic, insensitive and rigidly inane subsitution pattern, the same one you use for the Celtics and Timberwolves alike, whether up 10 or down 20 or even or surging or falling apart.

Your teams routinely fall behind double digits in the first quarter, yet you have no solutions. "We're still trying to find our identity" is the crap you try to peddle. IDENTITIES ARE FORMED IN THE PRESEASON, JERK. Not in GAME 36!

Jason Kidd said, at the beginning of the season, that this team was the most talented he had ever been on. Given that he's been to the finals twice and you have yet to get out of Round Two, I'd trust his judgement way more than yours. When he started playing you were a grad assistant.

So why, Lawrence Frank, does this team stumble out of the blocks every year under your tutelage? Why do they have to claw and scratch just to reach mediocrity every year under your tutelage? Why are so many games so alike, game after game, year after year, under your tutelage?

It's because, truth be told, you have really no idea of what to do.

Any NBA team with a modicum of talent could go .500 without a coach. You've accomplished the feat of taking great talent and achieving .500 over a 4 year period.

Pray tell, share with us your wisdom - How DO you do it?

Oh, pay no attention to this blog. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Hold your head high...

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