Saturday, March 22, 2008

Game 69 - The "F" Bomb

Y'know, the NBA nowadays is run like the old Soviet Union, in this respect: You can't get the truth, you can only get the acceptable party line.

Here's a few of those studied myths that passes for "analysis" nowadays:
- "We spent so much energy catching up that we had nothing left in the tank"
- "Well, you gotta give him a blow at some time..."

The Nets were down 12 at the half. Vs Utah they were down 10. Vs Atlanta they were down 7. In the latter two games they came back, took the lead, and kept on going, winning easily. Last night they did not.

So, does party line 1 above make any sense? Didn't the Nets expend, ostensibly, just as much energy if not more coming back and winning those two games, rather handily?

And last night - what about Denver? Didn't they expend as much energy if not more building up an 18 point lead?

No folks, this is just plausible deniability.

The Nets came roaring back in the third last night, just as they have in their two recent good looking wins at home (which is redundant, since they haven't won, or even tried to win, on the road since early February...). Here's the difference:

Vince Carter spent the first several minutes of the 4th quarter on the bench.

Which leads us to plausibly deniable myth number 2, above. Well, you gotta give him a blow some time...

Okay. How about at the end of the game, when it's out of reach, one way or the other? How about at the end of the season? How about next game, you know, the one you're gonna throw in the towel in the 2nd quarter, on the road?

Lawrence Frank happened last night. That's the difference. The F-bomb. Period. Space space.

The Nets took the lead, 88-86, after being down 18, in the very same 3rd quarter, and there was still 2 mins to go in the quarter. VC was the reason, pure and simple. And not just scoring - defense, passing, leadership. They (as is their wont in the Frank error) didn't finish well in the last 2 minutes, but they're only down 93-90.

So what does F-boy do?

In the 45 years I've been watching the NBA, I have only seen one other coach be so tone deaf to the game at hand. His name was Byron Scott. F-twerp was his ass-istant.

As I have repeatedly mentioned here, Scott took an on-fire Kerry Kittles and a 9 point lead and benched them both to start the 4th quarter in Game 6 in San Antonio in 2003, the Nets best chance to win it all. He personally hamstrung his own team by being tone deaf to the game at hand. Any fool (or, as Kidd said, "my own son" (who was like 5 at the time)) could coach that game better. This is not even to mention Scott's inexplicable non-use of Dikembe Mutumbo during much of the series.

F-brain took a page right out of that storied history, benching Vince at the very time he was hottest, at the very time he was in the flow, at the very time the young players on the court needed his leadership. Benched him.

Result? The Nets are down, once again, by 13 with 9 minutes left. Game the F over.

What game was the screaming marionette watching? Why does he bother showing up? Print out the game plan, the sub plan, the timeout plan, and stay in your office and watch tape.

When it got to 97-90, you have to know - Hey, if they score again, unanswered, they're up by 9 and (listen now, Larry, you might learn something here) IT'S THE FREAKING FOURTH QUARTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the game that's happening on the floor, Fool. Coach THAT game, not the one in your robotic brain. COACH THE GAME IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES.

Call time. Put Vince back in, pronto. Set up a play. Get fouled. Chances are, it's 97-92. Five points is nothing with 10 or 9 to go.

Nope. Vince sits. The lead goes up to 9. Frank watches. Tim Capstraw, the agitprop mouthpiece, I presume under constraints not to criticize the obvious, tries to mollify a 10 year old fan in the post game by saying, well, YOU GOTTA GIVE HIM A BLOW SOME TIME, and besides, VC was kneeling at the scorers table before F-jerk called a time out, he says, contradicting himself like the guilty criminal - I don't beat my wife, and besides, she likes it. Sometimes you got to call a time out just to get a guy in the game.

Well, Tim, of course, you and I both know that you wouldn't have to call the time out IF THE HOTTEST PLAYER ON THE COURT IN THE THIRD STARTED THE FOURTH AS HE SHOULD HAVE.

What Jason Kidd did not like the most about Byron Scott was exactly this - he was tone deaf to the game at hand. I saw Kidd seething in 2003-2004, sitting on the pine to start the 4th as the team unraveled. The leader of the team, sitting on the pine at that juncture. Seething.

Last night, for perhaps the 30th or 40th time this season, the leader of the team sat on the bench as the game slipped away in the beginning of the 4th.

Imagine - VC starts the 4th. The Nets keep close and win. Vs Denver. Third quality win at home. Something to build on.

Or, they keep it close but lose in the last minute. Still, okay.

Instead, the F-bomb is dropped on the Nets. MVP for the Nuggets? The Nets clueless and complicit coach.

Had Vince started the 4th and played its entirety, he would have played 42 minutes. That would not have led all players. AI played 45.

Wilt Chamberlain AVERAGED 49 minutes one year. 49! And there's only 48 in regulation!

This was game sixty F-ing nine, not game 10!

Which leads to another myth that F-clown subscribes to:

- This is just one of 82 games.

If you believe that, F-dolt, with 13 games left in the season and your team fighting for the last playoff spot, you belong elsewhere.

Like, on the F-ing unemployment line.

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