Thursday, November 26, 2009

Go West, Life Is Peaceful There - 3PL, 11/19 to 11/26

Happy Thanksgiving, Nets fans! And, happy birthday to the most handsome Nets blogger: Me!

At this point, I think all Nets fans need to just go with the flow. Just sit back, and let the current take you away. Many people are under the impression that if a team plays enough games, they are "due" a win. Fact is: the other team wants to win, too. The NBA is not a charity. The losers, such as the Nets, will be beat into submission.

They are the 2008 Lions. Accept it, and let us move on to next season.

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-57 (0.149)

November 21st - vs. New York, 91-98 Loss

The Knicks are my least favorite team in the league. Not because of their personnel, but because of the way their fans and media treat them. There is a sense of entitlement, that the Knicks deserve to be a good team. They believe that they are on the same level as the Bulls, Lakers, and Celtics.

This is all complete bullshit. The last time the Knicks won a title, the NBA talent was being diluted by the ABA, and I was minus 10 years old. Nobody under 40 remembers them being a champion. When it comes to being a "storied franchise", they have accomplished just as much as the Nets. Don't believe me? Let's compare

An up-and-down decade? Both did this in the 80s.

A decade of suckitude? The Nets did this in the 90s, and the Knicks did this in the 00s.

A decade of dominance, marked by a few division titles and two Eastern Conference championships, but losing in the Finals both times? The Nets did this in the 00s, and the Knicks did this in the 90s. On a side note, I am much more impressed by the Nets playoff runs, as they never, ever choked. The Nets never lost a playoff series where they had home-court advantage. In fact, they won two great series as underdogs - the first round in 2007 versus Toronto, and the conference finals in 2003 versus Detroit. They could never match the choke artistry of the 1995 Knicks.

A number 1 draft pick expected to be the franchise savior, but just went on to be a disappointment? The Nets had two swings at this - Derrick Coleman and Kenyon Martin. The Knicks only had Patrick Ewing, but hung onto him way too long.

So, clearly, when you think about the Knicks, please just lump them in with the Nets. Or the dozens of other teams that have a similar history - like the Magic, Jazz, Mavericks, Trailblazers, etc.

November 24th - At Denver, 87-101 Loss

And so begins the Nets annual western road trip. More on it below. But, in this "recap", I have to talk about the Denver Nuggets a bit. I am strongly against rooting for two teams, but as I realized in the playoffs, I like the Denver Nuggets. I will crown them the official Slippery When Nets Second Favorite Team Award As Long As The Nets Are Not Competing With Them for 2010. The SWNSFTAALATNANCWT10 for short. And here are the reasons why:

- The Nets and Nuggets have no discernible rivalry as far as I can tell. Can anyone name a classic game these two teams have played? If you select a second favorite team, the first imperative is that they cannot be considered a rival in any sense. So that eliminates all division teams, most Eastern Conference teams, and definitely the Spurs and the Lakers.

- KEN-YON MAR-TIN! I still love this guy.

- Back when I started following basketball in the mid-90s, I gravitated toward Orlando. But, my second favorite team back then? The Seattle Supersonics. Shawn Kemp was my man (also born today!), but I enjoyed watching their chubby little coach. Said chubby coach is now on Denver, and, god bless him, still choking in the playoffs.

- The fourth and final reason for choosing the Nuggets: a franchise history very similar to the Nets. Both were ABA brethren, both have had Kiki come in and raze the franchise to the ground, both have had little postseason success until trading for a franchise point guard, etc. The parallels are eerie.

All this being said, I still rooted my heart out for the Nets to win this game. Unfortunately, I still have yet to figure out how to control events that I am not tangibly involved in.

November 25th - At Portland, 83-93 Loss

OK, back to the Nets' dreaded western road trip. It always happens during the Thanksgiving holiday, as the Izod Center is occupied by Disney On Ice.

Which brings up an interesting question: What will happen when the Nets move to Brooklyn (or, perhaps to the Prudential Center)? In a "normal" season, the Nets will start out pretty average, but then lose momentum with this trip. But, since Disney won't be kicking them out of the house, could the western trip be moved back to later in the season, allowing them to grow better as a team and gain more confidence? Could this change the dynamic of the Nets as we know it? I mean, the Nets have only won over 50 games once, and clearly, this western road trip is to blame. It is something to think about for the future.

Random Thought: I'm turning 25 today, and this will be the first year of my life where the Nets have less wins than my age.

On that note, enjoy the holidays, folks!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three Point Land - November 14th through November 18th

It's over. Revising my prediction YET AGAIN! I originally predicted 25 wins, then chopped that in half to 12 wins. Now?


Trust me, I am not overreacting, or trying some lame reverse jinx. Given what has happened this season, and the effort I have seen from the players and coaching staff, I am not convinced there are ANY games the Nets can win this season.

People will say they have tons of injuries, and when they get healthy, they will win. Well, my argument is two-pronged. First, you cannot assume that when the other players get healthy, the current players will ALSO stay healthy. Guys like Rafer Alston, Trenton Hassell, and Eduardo Najera are very old, and should not be logging huge minutes. Case in point: Najera went down as soon as CDR came back. Also, players are not normally at full strength after coming back from injury, so the working them back up to speed will take longer.

But, the more depressing thing is: look who we are counting on to save our season. Yi Jianlian. Courtney Lee. Jarvis Hayes. Devin is fine, but these guys aren't going to make us instant winners again. To paraphrase Rick Pitino: Jason Kidd isn't walking through that door. Richard Jefferson isn't walking through that door. Kenyon Martin isn't walking through that door. They are an awful team now, and will still be very bad even at full strength.

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-60 (0.143)

Anyway, onto the recaps, which will, unfortunately, have more venting.

November 14th - At Miami, 80-81 Loss

Yet another game I didn't watch, because I was out eating sushi and drinking sake. However, that did not stop my phone from being inundating with calls and texts from my fellow Nets fans. I am an atheist, but thank Jeebus I didn't watch this game. My friends called this one of the most frustrating losses they ever saw. Clearly, they have short memories, as from what I can tell, the Minnesota loss to open the season was way worse - blowing a huge lead, and losing to a bad team.

November 17th - vs. Indiana, 83-91 Loss

OK, I was very excited about this game. First, I loved the Nets marketing campaign:

Oh man, how could you see that and NOT get pumped. 10 IS ENOUGH! PACK THE IZOD! FUCK YEAH!

Well, I did go to pack the Izod, which was still probably three-quarters empty. And, let me sum this one up: Ten was not enough.

The Pacers started with a 9-0 run, and never looked back. This loss, to me, was more disappointing than the Miami loss. There was no effort, no heart, no glimmer of hope. It was after this game that I revised my prediction and wrote the opening to this article (before even accounting for the inevitable loss at Milwaukee).

And, a special note to Brook Lopez: WAKE UP! Seriously, enough with the 20-footers. Hibbert took you to school in this game with - get this - POST MOVES! A tall guy using his height and strength to play inside? A novel idea, Brook. You might want to look into it.

November 18th - At Milwaukee, 85-99 Loss

Basically, I'm all vented out at this point. I missed this game due to the comedy class, but was able to write the above entries and opening without knowing the outcome of this game. You see, there is no reason to have any confidence they will win. They will be record-settingly bad.

I'm sorry if this entry depressed my loyal readers, but it is the truth. They are the 2008 Lions. I had not fully come to terms with this earlier, but now I have. I've said my piece, and I will move on. Future entries will go back to their normal, funnier tone.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Three Point Land - November 7th through November 13th

So far this season, the Nets have lost players due to a sore knee, a strained right groin, a strained left groin, a strained hamstring, a sore hip, and a sprained MCL. Oh yeah, and swine flu. The reason behind all this? My guess is a band of gypsies that Mikhail Prokhorov pissed off has cursed the team. Anyway, let's get right down to the nitty-gritty.

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-63 (0.136)

November 7th - vs. Boston, 75-86 Loss

As mentioned in the previous post, I was in the happiest place in New Jersey last Saturday: Atlantic City! I stayed at the El Dorado Motel, which had almost two stars on! Highlights of the trip included:

- My friend OB devouring a mashed potato "sundae" at the buffet. Basically, to find the potatoes, one would have to dig through a mountain of gravy, cheese, and bacon. My arteries clogged just watching him eat it.

- Not losing! Between two trips to Vegas and about a half-dozen trips to Atlantic City, blackjack has gotten me well over four figures in the hole. However, I only played sparingly this trip, and ended up nearly $40. Rather than gamble, I refocused my energy on drinking - where nobody loses!

- The drinking eventually led to dancing to "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe at vacant card tables at the Tropicana. That's what I love about casinos - as long as you aren't being violent or naked, they will allow you pretty much to act as zany as you want. However, I did end up seeing a catfight at the Tropicana later that night.

- Most importantly, I missed watching the Nets! From the sounds of it, our boys put up a good fight, but a short bench means more minutes, which means players get tired by the end. It is encouraging to see that they aren't getting blown-out all the time, but man, you can only have so many "moral victories" before needing to have one of those...what do you call them...oh yeah, REAL victories.

November 11th - vs. Philadelphia, 79-82 Loss

Eight is enough! Another game I missed, due to it being on Wednesday. You see, I signed up for a 6-week comedy class on Wednesday evenings, and had no idea it would conflict with the Nets games so much. I never really paid attention to what days of the week the Nets played, but here is the breakdown:

Sundays: 8

Mondays: 7

Tuesdays: 10

Wednesdays: 24

Thursdays: 0

Fridays: 17

Saturdays: 16

Thursday is absent because of TNT's stranglehold on the night. I think this teaches an important lesson to all fans of shitty basketball teams: plan your nights away from the TV on Thursdays.

November 13th - At Orlando, 72-88 Loss

I only watched the first half of this game, because I had made plans to go out. Again, looking at the schedule, Fridays and Saturdays have the second and third most scheduled Nets games, so having a social life is not in a Nets fan's best interest.

During the first half, when the Nets were up 10, I told my roommate: "It will be close until half-time, and then Orlando will pull away in the third." As much as I hate it, I'm proud to chalk this up to my other correct predictions this year, such as blowing the lead versus Minnesota and being fearful of the backcourt depth.

Random Thought: LeBron James announced he was changing his number from #23 to #6. It is interesting, because the Nets have #23 already retired (in honor of John Williamson). Currently, Courtney Lee wears #6. However, early mock-ups of the reversible jersey promo had Courtney Lee wearing #33. Why the switch to #6? Did they consult with LeBron before? Conspiracy theorists, go!

The Future Three: The suffering cannot continue much longer, right? Miami (tonight) will be tough. But, two days of rest and at home for Indiana? With possibly Devin Harris and Courtney Lee returning? That game is, dare I say, a must win! After that, they are on the road versus Milwaukee. These are two winnable games, and if this team has any heart (and, more importantly, if they can stay healthy), they will win one. But, as any Nets fan knows, always expect the worst.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Three Point Land - November 2nd through November 6th

This team is breaking me. I'm getting legitimately worried that this might be the worst team in NBA history. Let me halve my prediction from 25 wins to 12 wins. Here's the tracker:

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-66 (0.131).

Injuries have taken their toll, and the countdown to Johnny Wall and/or LeBron James has begun. I can't even enjoy watching these games right now, so let me tell you what I have been doing instead.

November 2nd - At Charlotte, 68-79 Loss

Like a moron, I had a really good feeling about this. So much so, I wagered my pennies on the Nets to win at I watched the first half, and, while ugly, the Nets were up, and I felt supremely confident. With the Nets leading (and the Yankees up 1-0), I left to see the Fuck Buttons at Bowery Ballroom.

Little did I realize the doom that would descend upon both teams. A 24-0 run. 10 minutes without scoring. Yi getting hurt for a month. It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. This game could not have gone any worse. At the concert, I was constantly checking my phones for updates. This is not a good strategy, as I nearly smashed the machine in disgust.

November 4th - vs. Denver, 94-122 Loss

Game? What game? I was out at the bars in Midtown, spending too much money (the damage came to about $80), BUT...I was watching champions! 27 baby!

(OK, everyone who knows me knows I don't give two shits about baseball. Although, my team has been the Yankees, if anything because they are closest to where I live, and they have the same team colors as my two other favorites - the Nets and the Giants. However, with the Nets setting franchise records in futility, and the Giants struggling for God knows why, I definitely overcompensated by following the relatively stress-free Yankees this post-season.)

November 6th - At Philadelphia, 94-97 Loss

Unlike the last two games, I actually sat down and watched this game, from soup to nuts. This was completely against my better judgment. At half-time, down only three, I got the sinking feeling this game would break my heart (again). And guess what?

I'm going to Atlantic City today. I cannot watch the Celtics game. The roster is completely depleted, and so am I. I'm conceding the next 4 games. Hopefully, November 17th at home against Indiana will be a win. Hopefully.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Point Land - October 28th through November 1st

Well, this is my first blogging season, and I was not sure how to handle it. I do not have the time to recap and analyze every game, and, as my regular readers know, I suck at game analysis. However, what I will (try) to do this season is a new feature called "Three Point Land", where I will just say whatever thoughts I've been able to garner over three games. Here we go!

October 28th - At Minnesota, 93-95 Loss

Man, it is GOOD to have basketball back in my life. Frankly, I was sick of football by week one, and, according to how they schedule the World Series, we still have three more months of baseball. New season, new opportunities!

However, the Nets know how to suck the joy out of everything. I was out at a comedy class earlier in the night, and came back to catch the entire fourth quarter. Immediately when I turned on the game, I did not like the body language. It seemed like they were playing not to lose. When the Nets were leading 87-75 with six minutes left, I turned to my roommate and said, "I think we're going to blow this game." He said I was being crazy. I'm not normally right about things, and I hate it when I am.

Man, though, Jonny Flynn is AMAZING. Also, I think it was pretty clear that Kurt Rambis had an axe to grind against Lawrence Frank for shattering his record for most consecutive wins by a new head coach.

The good thing about doing this blog is how cathartic is it. The Nets used to frustrate me immensely - so much so that a bad loss could ruin my night. But, recently, I have been feeling at peace with this crazy team. Until the end of that first game. I seriously considered posting that night, but figured nobody wanted to read my bitter tears in blog form. Plus, there's only so many ways to write "FUCK THIS TEAM!!!!"

October 30th - Orlando, 85-95 Loss

After that opening game (combined with the rape-down Orlando laid on Philly), I figured I was walking into an execution. However, I read the excerpts from the Tim Donaghy book, in which he accused Dick Bavetta of favoring the lesser teams to keep a close game. Needless to say, Dick Bavetta was reffing this game, and the Nets were never completely out of it until the end. Coincidence?

I was also at this game. The atmosphere is getting more depressing - seeing four entire sections closed off did not help. Vince received a nice applause, although I was not at my seat at the time. The half-price food was good, and helped offset the cost of the much-needed alcohol. This loss was much easier to digest than the first one with a mild buzz going on.

October 31st - At Washington, 104-123 Loss

OK, I didn't watch a minute of the game. The box score suggests I didn't miss much. Not that I'm the coolest guy in the world (I think I'm as cool as a Nets blogger can be), but it was Halloween Saturday in New York City - there were way more awesome things to do than watch my awful team. I dressed as Elvis! And drank and ate candy! Sweet!

Random Thought: The Nets' slogan is More Than A Game. The LeBron James documentary is called More Than A Game. Hm...

The Future Threes: I think the Nets will get their first win of the tonight against Charlotte. Book it! Followed by two more abortions against Denver and Philly. Three down, only 79 more to go...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pacific Division Previews

The season is underway, but there's still time to preview the season! Click away!

Golden State Warriors Previews
Golden State of Mind

Los Angeles Clippers Previews
Clips Nation

Los Angeles Lakers Previews
Silver Screen and Roll
With Malice
NBA Tipoff
Hoops Addict
Forum Blue and Gold

Phoenix Suns Previews
Bright Side of the Sun
Binary Basketball

Sacramento Kings Previews
Sactown Royalty
Basketball Fiend
Cowbell Kingdom