Dec 19

Apocalypse Now: Knicks Winning. World Ending?

Don’t look now, but the New York Knicks haven’t looked this good since their last NBA Finals run in 1994. They lead the Eastern Conference with an 18-6 record and have been doing it with nagging injuries plaguing Carmelo Anthony, Rasheed Wallace, and Marcus Camby, not to mention Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert are yet to play in a single game this season. What does this all mean? Well, it looks like this may be their year. So why is my gut telling me to be worried? The answer lies in the following date: December 21, 2012. The day the Mayan calendar ends, which ‘experts’ believe to indicate the end of the world as we know it. It’s almost too perfect an ending for Knicks haters. But we have our own kind of perfection on our side: Mike Woodson’s impossibly perfect Wooly Willy goatee.

If the world truly does end on 12-21-12 then I won’t be able to witness the only Knicks championship in my lifetime. It is almost as if those damn Mayans were playing a prank just to mess with Knicks fans thousands of years later. Yes, the prophet Ezekiel didn’t predict the meltdown of John Starks in game 7 of the 1994 Finals, and it’s true that Nostradamus didn’t predict the injury to Patrick Ewing that probably cost NY a title in 1999. But something tells me the current Knicks had their destiny engraved in stone a long time ago. The curse of this team will never let me enjoy a winning team because I just don’t want to get my hopes up again. All Knicks fans can attest to these feelings of doubt and vulnerability. But take heed Knicks Knation, these are not the same ol’ Knicks.

Alright, I’m just going to say it…and I don’t care if it breaks my heart later. But the world will NOT end on 12-21-12! The Mayans (and all the pseudo-scientists and best-selling authors who propagated this whole idea for profit) were wrong! It was just a typo. The media exaggerated this whole thing just to kill all hope for us Knicks fans. But the media is full of front-runners and LeBron lovers, so I don’t trust ‘em one bit. Our geriatric squad that features such fossils as Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, and Sheed will bring us to the promised land. Mark my words: Scientists will study their success one day as they will seek the key to the fountain of youth. The Mayan Calendar, however, will be an afterthought.

Not even the threat of the apocalypse will make me stop believing. If the Four-Horsemen arrive before the Knicks win a title I will personally escort them back to the fiery pits of hell using a lasso and a whip. If Jesus showed up and said “Okay, lets go guys, time for the rapture”, I will stop him in his tracks and say ”Hey J-Dog, why end the world now? The Knicks finally have a good coach and a winning team. This is not what I call ‘ending all suffering’. We’re winning a damn title first, so just go defeat the Anti-christ and let us live out the rest of our lives here on earth in peace. By the way, his name is James Dolan in case you didn’t know”.

 

Dec 07

14-4 Start: A Summary

With 14 wins and just 4 losses, the New York Knicks have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are a win away from being tied for the best record in the entire NBA. Ah it feels so good to say that. But as long-suffering Knicks fans know too well, it’s too early to get overly excited. In the mean time repeat the first sentence of this article until it sinks in. I for one cannot stop smiling and I am even being friendly to strangers on the subway. Strangely it isn’t coming from the giddiness of holiday spirit. It comes from being a fan of a team that is finally making me proud after a decade of torture.  

I will summarize our games from November 15th through December 7th:

Win @ San Antonio - Knicks showed grit and determination, making a late comeback and beating a contender who hasn’t lost to us on their home floor in almost a decade. Melo was being trapped, bumped, and harrassed on defense but showed off his newfound leadership skills by showing trust in his teammates. Jason Kidd hit some timely 3′s and Felton made Parker work on both ends of the floor. 6-0.

Loss @ Memphis – It’s tough playing back-to-back away games against 2 of the best teams in the NBA. A 1-1 split is a big coup, considering we would never have expected that to happen with last seasons team. We went toe-to-toe with a Grizzlies team that recently blew out the Miami Heat and was playing in front of their home crowd. The officiating was questionable but the Knicks let it get to them by arguing, racking up technical fouls, and frustration fouls. Besides for their abysmal 3rd quarter, they showed again that they can hang with the elites. Rasheed Wallace showed some flashes of his old self by dominating in the low post, so that was a positive takeaway. Every team is hungry to beat the only undefeated team, so there is no shame in losing to the Grizzlies. 6-1.

Win vs Indiana – Winning home games is what Woodson is preaching since that’s what dominant teams do. NY wowed their home crowd and showed the Pacers what an elite team looks like. Tyson Chandler made All-Star center Roy Hibbert look like a rookie again by shutting him down and forcing him out of his comfort zone. 7-1.

Win @ New Orleans - A 22 point win against a bad team without its best player is not a huge statement but it is an away game and the Hornets are well coached. This is what good teams do, they win the winnable games. 8-1.

Loss @ Dallas – After beating Dallas at home they wanted to return the favor. Another back-to-back away game clearly showed how tired the Knicks were. The Knicks calling-card is to hold teams under 90 points and not turn the ball over (lead the league). They played sloppy and gave up 114 points instead. This was a close game that could have been won if not for a late whistle on a questionable offensive foul called on Melo. A spoiled homecoming for Kidd and Chandler. 8-2.

Loss @ Houston – This was supposed to be Linsanity meets the new bad-boy Knicks. It ended up being the James Harden show. Chandler Parsons is having a breakout year and the Knicks clearly did not gameplan for him. Omer Asik was a rebounding monster and out worked Chandler on every play. NY just didn’t bring any energy. Melo is the only guy who came ready to play. The result: giving up 131 points to an average team. Woodson chewed out his team after the game, challenging them to see what they are made of by responding to adversity. This is a fairly old and worn team so there will be bad stretches. 8-3.

Win vs Detroit – Protecting home court and beating bad teams is just what the doctor ordered. The Pistons are good to play against recently, as the Knicks keep blowing them out, giving needed rest to their starters. 9-3.

Loss @ Brooklyn – On a back-to-back night in a crazy and loud atmosphere, the Knicks nearly beat a very good Nets team that wanted to win the first subway series on their home floor. The crowd obviously was torn between fans of both squads. Jason Kidd sat out against his former team and the lack of chemistry showed. Melo started playing hero ball in front of his hometown crowd and nearly won the game on a makeable jumpshot in the closing seconds. The Nets won a tight battle in overtime with Raymond Felton having a rare off night and Woodson experimenting with a short rotation. He regretted that decision as he realized our depth must be utilized to get the most out of our veterans’ minutes. Tyson Chandler was flawless. Moral victory. 9-4.

Win @ Milwaukee  - Novakaine numbed his home-town crowd with his shooting barrage. NY showed a Bucks team that was a thorn in their side last year that they are no longer all fluff, they are all substance. 10-4.

Win vs Washington – The Wizards had not won a game all season and the Knicks weren’t going to let them get their first W on their home floor. Another blowout of a bad team. 11-4.

Win vs Phoenix – The Suns gave NY all they had. Every time the Knicks took a big lead they kept coming back. They have a below average team but enough veterans and heady players to make teams work for victories. Chris Copeland gave a much needed boost by doing it all in his limited minutes after Sheed was tossed for his 2 quick techs. Cope deserves a shot but Woody makes his rookies work hard and prove themselves. He was a scoring machine in the preseason and looks good whenever he plays. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get minutes later on in the year in place of Kurt Thomas. Unfortunately he’ll have to battle Thomas, Sheed, Melo, Amare, Brewer and Novak for minutes. Good win nonetheless. 12-4.

Win @ Charlotte – Kemba Walker was running circles around the Knicks but hometown hero Raymond Felton pushed back and fought through a wrist injury he sustained against the Suns. The Cats are actually a solid team and can no longer be looked at as an easy win on the schedule. J.R. Smith hit the first game-winning buzzer beater of his entire NBA career (which is hard to believe since the man loves to shoot). 13-4.

Win @Miami – on a back-to-back night after a hard fought, down to the wire win, the Knicks enter into the lions den. The defending NBA champions always look to stick it to the Knicks by bringing their A-game (remember when they put and end to Linsanity?). They wanted to avenge their earlier 20 point loss in NY and this game decides who will have the best record in the east. Melo sat out with an injury. Camby, Amare, and Shumpert are on the injured list. The Heat just lost to the lowly Wizards and are hungry to move on and make a statement against a beaten up Knicks team. But this is a different Knicks team. The crisp passing, deadly shooting, and excellent defense of the Knicks proved too much for the Heat. Raymond Felton has his best game of the season and wowed the crowd with his array of crossovers and long range bombs. Novak killed it from downtown. Tyson Chandler led the defensive attack by shutting down Bosh. Ronnie Brewer and Kidd frustrated D-Wade. LeBron was dominant as usual but the Knicks wore out his teammates. NY sits atop the conference by blowing out the champs on their home floor (without their best player, mind you) in yet another 20 point blowout. Remember, this is a Heat team that manhandled the Brooklyn Nets in 2 meetings thus far because they wanted to send a message. Oh hell yeah. 14-4.

In closing, we have the best record in the east while playing without 3 important regulars in Amare, Shumpert, and Camby. We will have our ups and downs this year but we have proven we have a tough, gritty, smart, playoff tested squad that will make noise. Now, I leave you with words that warm the heart:

Chris Bosh: “I was telling people the Knicks were going to be good. I felt they were going to be a very good team and were going to challenge us. I was thinking about them all summer because I know they were thinking about us.”

LeBron James: “We already thought they were going to be a better team. We haven’t went into the first two games doubting them or underestimating their ability…They pretty much just kicked our ass in two games.”

Dwyane Wade: “In the Eastern Conference you would have to look up and say they’re the measuring stick right now, and they would say the same about us.”

Jason Kidd: “This is a dress rehearsal, that’s all it is. You guys (the reporters and media) do the hype and everything, but this is just a dress rehearsal for the playoffs…They’re still the champs. We haven’t done anything…It does feel good, but we can’t be satisfied. We’ve got to stay hungry. We can’t fall into the trap because we really haven’t accomplished anything yet.”

NY fans enjoy your New New York Knicks. You deserve it!

#KnicksTape

 

Nov 18

Post Game Thoughts: Jets Beat Rams 27-13

The Jets beat the Rams by the score of 27-13 today improving their record to 4-6 before their game on Thanksgiving night with the Patriots. Lets break down what worked for the Jets

1. Sanchez Better Than Bradford

I thought that this was Sanchez’s second best game of the season ( the best was the game against the Pats in New England). He was going through his reads extremely well and was very accurate today. It would be nice to see this more often from the 4th year QB

Bradford on the other hand was rattled by the Jets. He seemed to be solely looking for Amendola and it really hurt him. The QB play was the most important key to victory for the Jets today

2. Muhammad Wilkerson

Mo Wilkerson really made his presence felt today. He was constantly getting in the backfield, disrupting the run game and Bradford. This was really impressive to see and if he could keep this going, then perhaps they would not have to blitz all the time in order to pressure the QB.

3. Jets Defensive Gameplan Won the Game

Rex Ryan devised an excellent game-plan for stopping the Rams. He put a lot of bodies in the middle of the field and when Bradford was looking for Amendola (which seemed like he was every play), Lankster did not let him get any yards after the catch, which is where Amendola makes his money. I guess you could say that the Jets gameplanning for Welker twice a year really helped the Jets in this game.

What’s Next: Jets will be playing on NFL Network on Thanksgiving Night to play the division rival Patriots at home. More coverage on this game to come tomorrow

 

 

Nov 14

Reaction: Knicks 99, Magic 89

The Knicks move to an impressive 5-0 but this game was closer than it should have been. The Knicks were not attacking basket (they only got to the line 11 times the entire game as a team, whereas Carmelo Anthony should be getting those numbers all by himself), settling for too many threes in an attempt to make a comeback and luckily it worked out. However they can’t rely on that strategy working every game, especially against better competition. If they are going to play that way they better find a way to get Steve Novak some open looks because he is not getting up enough shots to get into rhythm, something that made him thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Also, Carmelo Anthony and Rasheed Wallace (and soon Amare Stoudemire) need to be featured more in the low block in order to draw contact or kick the ball back to shooters and utilize this team’s knack for ball movement.

A storyline that continues to bring smiles to the faces of Knicks fans is that they only had 9 turnovers and forced 20, which has been the key statistic that lead to all 5 double-digit wins. However, losing the rebounding battle (particularly offensive rebounding) is not going to cut it. Luckily the return of Amare will help – as strange as that sounds. Of course he is known as only a decent rebounder at best (8.7 RPG for his career) and could learn to box out more, but it would improve the size of this team since Melo is a more effective rebounder and banger at the SF position. However this scenario is a double-edged sword since Melo is more efficient on both ends of the floor at PF, which makes Amare best suited for a backup role.

The Knicks need Sheed and Marcus Camby to get fully healthy and in shape as soon as possible. Camby’s offensive rebounding and weak side D along with Sheed’s post D are really going to help Tyson Chandler, who is battling all alone in the paint. Speaking of Tyson, I am glad to see his is taking and making jump-shots which will cause defenders to play him closer, leaving them even more vulnerable to his rolls to the rim on pick-n-rolls.

Many fans instinctively felt like the Knicks were going to blow this game due to the low energy they exhibited in the first 3 quarters against the lowly Orlando Magic; after all, letdowns have been their calling card for the last decade or so. A Mike D’Antoni-led squad would emphatically beat a playoff-bound team one night and then follow it up with losses to the Bobcats and Cavaliers.

Last night’s win shows that the 2012 Knicks are a brand new team with a coach that holds his players accountable and will grind out wins even when many things go wrong. This win is not as impressive as the Nets blowout of the Magic recently, but let’s not forget that teams that get embarrassed like that get chewed out by their coaches and bring in the energy in their next home-stand. And that is exactly what they did. The Knicks were admittedly lackadaisical in the first half. The lowest scoring team in the NBA scored 53 points in the first half against the Knicks – that is unacceptable. But you can’t expect this Knicks team to win every game with 4 perfectly executed quarters. With only 6 returning players from last year (2 of which haven’t even played in one game so far), chemistry and communication will take some time to develop. We got spoiled by the way the Knicks won their previous games. Every opponent that faces NY wants to be the team to hand them their first loss, so the Magic were understandably pumped for this game.

The Knicks made the proper perimeter defensive adjustments in the second half and were carried by the brilliant play of J.R. Smith in the 3rd quarter. After the game coach Woodson said “This is the fifth straight game we haven’t allowed over 40 points in the second half. That just tells me our defense is right where it needs to be.”

Other game notes:

  • Iman shumpert’s absence was really apparent in this game, as Jason Kidd could not keep up with J.J. Redick’s craftiness moving around screens on the perimeter. Shump is expected back in January, barring any unforeseen complications.
  • Ronnie Brewer’s surgically repaired knee swelled up during the game, which is a cause for concern, but he nipped it in the bud by saying he will be ready for action next game against the Spurs.
  • I thought Raymond Felton played a great game, especially with his penetration, but he shot a bit too much for my taste.
  • Jason Kidd needs to develop more chemistry with J.R. Smith. His lobs are missing the target for whatever reason, unlike with Baron Davis who had it down to a science last season with Smith.
  • It looks like J.R. is primed for a breakout season, as he looks focused, less out of control; he is defending, rebounding, and just playing smarter than I have ever seen him play. Talent-wise there aren’t many SGs in the NBA who can do what he does, but it has always been a mental thing with him. I don’t expect him to sustain his staggering 72% accuracy from downtown, but his numbers across the board (18.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 49% FG, 89% FT) would be a source of pride for most starters, and this guy is coming off the bench. Somewhere, John Starks must be proud. Clearly he’s the early favorite to win 6th Man of the Year. I attributed his newfound focus and leadership on both ends to his relationship with coach Woodson, who is the first coach who embraced his game instead of trying to change it.

Overall I am ecstatic about our start to the season but the Spurs and Grizzlies are coming up and expectations will start coming back down to earth. Losses are needed for this team to make adjustments and work on their weaknesses, but let’s hope we can steal at least 1 win from those teams. NY hasn’t faced a fully healthy squad (not that the Knicks are fully healthy either) since opening night against the Heat and the next 2 opponents are healthy and playing as good as any team right now, so it is a good barometer for the Knicks to see where they stand amongst the contenders.

Nov 07

3-0? Say it Ain’t So!

The New York Knicks have started the 2012-2013 season with a bang. It’s not that they are winning, it is how they are winning.

After their back-to-back losses to the Knicks, Sixers coach Doug Collins said: “They are really playing as well as anybody in the NBA. If Miami is the No. 1 team, New York just beat them by 20. They right now do not have a weakness. They defend, they have size, shoot the three, have a great, great player in Carmelo Anthony. They have depth. If they continue to play like this, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the East.”

The scary part is we haven’t seen the full potential of this team. Chemistry should have taken time to build considering that there are so many new faces – just ask the Lakers. These guys are different though, as they have great off-court chemistry and compliment each other on the hardwood. The injured Marcus Camby, Iman Shumpert, and Amare Stoudemire are all going to make this team deeper and more versatile on both ends of the floor when they return. Keep in mind that Ronnie Brewer is coming off knee surgery, Rasheed Wallace has returned after a 2 year layoff, J.R. Smith is coming off a sore ankle/Achilles, Tyson Chandler has been weakened by a cold, Pablo Prigioni is adjusting to the speed and spacing of the NBA, and Chris Copeland is gaining more confidence with every minute played. Come playoff time everyone will be in proper physical condition – barring injuries.

Amare’s injury is a blessing in disguise, as Carmelo Anthony is proving yet again that he is most effective at PF. Amare will be brought back slowly and eventually should put his ego aside by accepting a bench role if winning is truly his top priority. I trust that coach Mike Woodson will handle with care, and so far it looks like his players respect him. Gone are the days of the empty rhetoric of ”let’s go, let’s go” matador defense and free-wheeling offense instituted by Mike D’Antoni. Woodson won a title as a defensive-minded assistant coach for the 2004 Detroit Pistons, and a winning pedigree resonates with players. So much so that it only took a friendly phone call for him to get Rasheed Wallace to un-retire.

The defensive potential of this team may even exceed that of the Pat Riley era. Woodson’s slowed down, half-court offense is very well suited for the playoffs, when the action gets more physical and the grind of the long season begins to wear on the players. One key anchor will be Ronnie Brewer, an athletic swingman who learned the ropes from defensive gurus like Jerry Sloan and Tom Thibodeau. Ronnie Brewer’s defensive tenacity has almost made us forget about Iman Shumpert’s absence. His slashing, passing, and commitment to improving his jump-shot is making it easier for Melo to pass out of double-teams with confidence. His new success with his shot is attributed to assistant coach Dave Hopla, which may also explain the teams’ overall accuracy from deep. Jared Zwerling of ESPN reported that “in 2005, Hopla says he hit 35,332 out of 35,979 shots (98.2 percent), and this past summer, he set a world record by sinking 18 straight 3-pointers in one minute during a clinic in Portugal.”

It also helps having 2 great passers and willing defenders in the backcourt, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, which makes ball movement contagious from the get-go and inspires shoot-first guys like Melo and J.R. to make smarter decisions.

The advanced age of this team is a concern for some fans but this fear is just propagated by the media. Other NBA teams are not overlooking the potential of this squad, as Chris Bosh said before the season: “I just wanna say — the freakin’ Knicks, man. I think they’re going to be a good team,” Bosh told ESPN.com. “Nobody’s really talking about them, and I don’t like it. They’re flying under the radar right now. I think the Knicks are gonna be a very good team.” It was only fitting that the Knicks went on to send a message by beating the defending champion Heat by 20 in the season opener, holding them to a measly 84 points. Calling this team old and experienced is a compliment. The OKC Thunder lost last year because of youthful inexperience not lack of talent. The core of this roster (Chandler, Anthony, Felton, Amare, Brewer, Shumpert, Smith, and Steve Novak) are actually young, while the role players (Kidd, Wallace, Camby, and Kurt Thomas) are old. Whereas contenders such as the Lakers and Celtics have old core players with much mileage on their tires, being supported by less experienced role players.

The fact is Melo is showing true leadership for the first time by heeding the advice of former champions like Woodson, Chandler, Kidd, and Wallace. That is why he is trusting his teammates, diving for loose balls and working hard on D for the first time. It pains him to see his fellow lottery draftees LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh joined forces to win a title, while he continues to struggle to shed his image of being a one-dimensional scorer and perennial loser. Now he is in the best shape of his life, gets in early for drills, stays late to watch film, is being more vocal, and wants to add an NBA Championship ring to his mantle, which already boasts an NCAA title and Olympic gold medal – quite the trifecta for a Hall-of-Fame campaign.

Knicks fans, there is finally a reason to be excited. Bask in the moment, let it sink in because we waited 13 years to have a great team again. The Last time the Knicks had an undefeated start to the season after 2 games was in 1999, which was also the last time we made the NBA Finals. If Patrick Ewing hadn’t gone down with an injury they could very well have been champions. Let’s hope we have better luck with the injury bug. In the mean time, GO NEW YORK, GO NEW YORK, GO!! 

 

Oct 25

PREDICTIONS

MVP: LEBRON JAMES

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: DAMIAN LILLARD

6TH MAN OF THE YEAR: LOU WILLIAMS

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: GLEN DAVIS

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DWIGHT HOWARD

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: RASHEED WALLACE

COACH OF THE YEAR: DOUG COLLINS

EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: MITCH KUPCHAK

SCORING LEADER: KEVIN DURANT

REBOUNDING LEADER: KEVIN LOVE

ASSISTS LEADER: STEVE NASH

BLOCKS LEADER: SERGE IBAKA

STEALS LEADER: RAJON RONDO

E.C. CHAMPIONS: MIAMI HEAT OVER N.Y. KNICKS

W.C. CHAMPIONS: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER OVER L.A. LAKERS 

NBA CHAMPION: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Oct 25

What Knicks Fans Demand in 2012

The following are realistic goals for each player on the roster judging by their weaknesses (since we already know their strengths):

C Tyson Chandler – Take jumpers outside 5 feet from time to time in order to keep the defense guessing. Play aggressively on D knowing there is quality depth at the position so he can afford fouling. Step out of the way when Amare has to roll to the basket.

PF Amare Stoudemire – Find his midrange stroke again. Get acclimated to the new pick-n-roll PGs. Look for cutters on drives when the defense closes in on him (Chandler, Brewer, and Anthony are lethal cutters on the baseline). Box out and keep hands up on D, it is mostly about focus. Do not switch to another man on D when the opposition sets picks. Stay healthy and away from off-court stunts that will lead to injury. Offer to come off bench if that proves to be more effective. He is the X-factor who will ultimately decide the fate of this team.

SF Carmelo Anthony – Look to make the extra pass without forcing offense. Set up Amare and Tyson on pick-n-rolls. Post up more in order to get to the line. Focus on D, although showed improvement. Keep an eye out for spot shooters like Novak and Kidd on the swing. 

SG Ronnie Brewer – Do not take 3 pointers. Cutting, ball handling, rebounding, passing, and D are his forte so try to stick to what works well instead of trying to do too much. Needs to hit the open J and focus at the line. Hold down the fort till Shumpert comes back and don’t complain about lack of minutes when he does.

PG Raymond Felton – Attack the D by getting into the paint, which opens up shots for others. Utilize speed to get to the line. Don’t start the game overly aggressive on offense which may lead to unforced turnovers. Keep in shape. Do not settle for off balance jumpers and 3s. Roam the baseline off the dribble the way Nash does, which he does effectively when he tries. 

C Marcus Camby – Stay healthy. Teach others the art of defensive techniques. Do not look for offense too much and take few jumpers just to keep the D honest.

F Rasheed Wallace – Get conditioning up. Do not be a distraction by arguing with refs. Post up more since he has the ability to do other things besides shooting 3pt shots. Must and will get others to talk on D.

F Steve Novak – Pump fake, dribble and pop when being guarded well or shot is not falling. Hit the weight room and box out for rebounds. Try to get to the line off of fakes.

G J.R. Smith – Do not hold the ball for more than 5 seconds. Show off solid passing and defensive abilities. Take balanced 3pt shots and less fadeaways. Let Kidd and Prigioni set him up instead of trying to always create for himself. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep instead of tweeting into the wee hours of the morning.

G Jason Kidd – Guard opposing SGs. Control J.R.’s pace. Get chemistry with Amare going. Hit open 3s. Get Tyson and himself to talk to the coaching staff about how to limit LeBron’s effectiveness like they did in Dallas.

C Kurt Thomas – Be ready when called upon due to injury-plagued bigs on the team.

F Chris Copeland – Must work on rebounding and limiting turnovers if he wants important minutes. Don’t over-dribble.

F James White – Must hit his 3′s if he wants any playing time. No unforced turnovers but just play in the flow of the game. Use athleticism to get to the line.

G Iman Shumpert – Get healthy by not rushing back, then he will be expected to start. Do not elevate too much on jumpshot, which is something he is working on with new shooting coach. Great shooters usually do not jump too high on their shots (besides Ray Allen). Attack the rim and limit turnovers. Needs to regain at least 90% of his old self if this team wants to make serious noise in the playoffs.

G Pablo Prigioni – Hit open shots. Build chemistry with Amare. Improve communication due to language barrier, but basketball is a universal language so it is not much of a concern.

Oct 24

Barclays Blowing Up! Islanders To Come In 2015

 

Tumblr @tony

 The Long Island Islanders have just announced they will be playing in Brooklyn come 2015.  Owner Charles Wang previously stated his team would not continue to play at the Nassau Coliseum after their lease ends in 2015.  It also comes at a perfect time because the Nets wave and shock around the Brooklyn area hasn’t reaches its peak yet.  These next few years will give the Nets time to prove their worth to the fans around the Brooklyn area before another team comes to share what they thought was their stadium.   Can you imagine the Islanders winning one before the Nets?!

 Without a doubt, there will be new uniforms for the Islanders and possibly even colors.  Can you imagine a home, blue and orange team in New York too?! I think NOT.  The Knicks are MSG’s team and so are the Rangers.  The Nets will be the Barclays team and so will the Islanders. This puts the rivalry at another level. Things just got that much more heated between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

To be honest, I cant wait.  I love the idea of this and have even written a previously post on it.  I actually predicted this.  Lets now see if Mikhail becomes part owner in all of this. If so, money will not be an obstacle as it was not with the Nets.  Well continue to watch it pan out.

@CyrusSolomon

Oct 16

Nets Beat Wizards, Take First Home Victory

The Nets faced the Wizards at their new home last night, the Barclays Center.  It was their first time playing at home in front of a major crowd after JayZ opened the place with several concerts.  The Nets looked like a contending ball club as they proved their worth around all the hype.  Although it was just a preseason game, all starters played significant minutes and the game took the course of a regular season matchup.  All starters played 20+ minutes and the Nets backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson both played over 30 minutes each, respectively.  Some notable numbers: Brook Lopez recorded a double double in less than 25 minutes of action scoring 18 points and 11 rebounds.  A very good sign for Brook as he is coming off season ending surgery and is known to be a poor rebounder.  Williams scored 11 points and registered 9 assists, Johnson scored 14, and Andray Blatche had 18 points and 9 boards off the bench.  Blatche looked great in preseason ball.  He will compliment Kris Humphries off the bench very nicely as he brings a better offensive presence to the PF position.

Some In-Game Notables: Humphries had a Lebron James esque block from the back, one of three he recorded, on the rookie Beal as he went up for a fast-break dunk.  Deron Williams and AJ Price(who?) jawed at each other for a bit as Price proclaimed this is my city in Deron’s face after Williams went up for a layup and got fouled hard by him.  Deron Williams laughed it off as he walked to the free throw line.  I don’t think he knew who he was.

All in all, it was a great effort for the Nets.  It showed a glimpse into the future.  Although there will be tough moments ahead, the Brooklyn Nets looked strong in their home debut.  The Nets face the Boston Celtics tonight at TD Garden in downtown Boston.