Posts Tagged ‘Nets’

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Per tradition, the New York Knicks are set to have their Martin Luther King day matinee against their cross-town rival, the Brooklyn Nets. With the renewal of their rivalry hours away, lets take a look at some of the greatest moments in the long-lived rivalry.

Kidds Four Point Play- After spending years in New Jersey, Jason Kidd spent his final year as a player wearing Orange and Blue for the New York Knicks. In his first game at the Barclays Center, Kidd had a time machine game, putting up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Of those points, none were bigger than his three with 24 seconds left to give the Knicks the lead. He was fouled during the shot, sending him to the line where he failed to complete the four-point play. The Knicks took the win 100-97 in one of Kidd’s last great games.

The Tim Thomas Tirade- In game two of the 2004 playoffs, with tensions already high, Nets Center Jason Collins committed a flagrant foul against Knicks Forward Tim Thomas. Thomas was injured on the play and would not return to the game. In his postgame interview, Thomas would proceed to rip everyone from Collins to his own teammates. His most memorable comments came against Nets Forward Kenyon Martin, where he proceeded to call Martin “Fugazi”. Martin and the Nets responded by beating down the Knicks at MSG to sweep the series.

The Blueprint 2010- With the day rapidly approaching, Mikhail Prokhorov,  Jay-Z, and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets front office decided to make a statement about their impending move. They did so by placing a 22-foot billboard outside of Madison Square Garden with the Tagline “Blueprint For Greatness”. Tensions would continue to rise between the two owners until commissioner David Stern finally stepped in and squashed the situation. Despite being forced to take the Billboard down, the point was definitely made.

The Birth Of Linsanity- Febuary 4th 2012 will forever go down in sports history as the birth of Linsanity. With Iman Shumpert & Baron Davis out, Lin was finally given a chance to play by coach Mike D’Antoni. Against the New Jersey Nets, Lin went off, scoring 25 points, while adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists. From there the rest is history. Lin would go on to average 15 points, and 6 assists for the rest of the year, before going to the Houston Rockets in free agency.

At Long Last- The building was shaking. In front of a sellout crowd, the Nets and Knicks played their first game at the Barclays Center and they did not disappoint. Despite being delayed by Hurricane Sandy, the game felt like it was opening night. In an overtime thriller, Brooklyn prevailed with a 96-89 final score. With both teams putting up a good fight, this signified the beginning of the fight for New York.

There are plenty more classic moments that have taken place over this 40-year rivalry. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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At long last, Greg Oden made his season debut on Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. When the former number one overall pick took less money to sign with the Miami Heat this offseason, it was clear Oden wanted one thing, a ring. Since being drafted in 2007, the former Ohio State big man has been disappointing to say the least. Before Wednesday, Oden hadn’t played in an NBA game since December 5th 2009. He had suffered through a career of anguish and struggle both on and off the court. Between his best friends passing in 2006 and his embarrassing photo leak in 2010, it is impressive that Oden showed the will to return all together. Based off the small sample size, that determination seems to have paid dividends. In an impressive eight minutes, Oden scored six points (including two dunks) and grabbed two rebounds.

Physically, Oden looks better than ever. He seems to have lost weight, while putting on muscle in his upper body. That combination is always a step in the right direction for big men. Mentally, he looked even better. To score his first points since 2009, Oden grabbed an offensive rebound off a Dwayne Wade miss, and put back and emphatic two hand dunk. After seeing a play like that, fans and coaches alike have to be encouraged by his performance and attitude.

Looking on the larger scale, this is exactly what the Miami Heat need. While their current three game losing streak is bad, it could just be a January slump. However, looking at the big picture, the Miami Heat will not make the Finals with this current roster. They aren’t as big or deep as the Indiana Pacers. With his natural size, Roy Hibbert is going to easily beat Chris Bosh and Chris Anderson in the paint. This then creates matchup problems all over the floor and allows Indiana to stretch the floor for their surplus of shooters. What Oden could do, on a smaller scale, is be Miami’s Roy Hibbert. At 7’0 280 lbs, Oden has the potential to be able to play Hibbert perfectly on both sides of the ball.

Bigger then anything he could do in his minutes on the court, is what having Oden means the Heat will not do. That big discontinue would be Miami’s reported interest in free agent big man Andrew Bynum. Bynum is the NBA’s second biggest cancer, losing the honor to J.R. Smith. From his lack of effort on court to his erratic  off the court behavior, Bynum needs to be avoided at all costs. The Heat don’t have enough player chemistry and Erik Spolestra is not respected enough to be able withstand the walking hurricane that is Andrew Bynum.

Now with all this being said, lets not go and put Greg Oden next to Wilt and Russel. In reality, he will only be a 10-15 minute player come April & May, but those 10-15 minutes can be the difference between a championship and not even making the finals. With his size and strength, Oden possess the ability to be that enforcer down low, who can also spread the floor for Lebron, Wade, Chalmers, and the rest of the Miami Heat.

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Despite the fact he was still rehabbing a tear in his Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant was awarded a two-year contract extension on November 18th. The terms of the contract are two years for approximately $48.5 million.

Bryant and the Lakers have faced a lot of backlash since the move, with fans and analysts calling Bryant selfish for taking so much money from a team that has plenty of other issues. Bryant took to his twitter page the next night to defend the extension. Bryant tweeted “The cap rules players have to be “selfless” on To “help” BILLIONAIRE owners R the same cap rules the owners LOCKED US out to put in #think.” He also tweeted “Don’t just learn ur sport .. Learn the sports industry #futureathletes.”

There is no denying the impact that Kobe has had in the NBA and that he has earned this money. However, Bryant may need to take some of his own advice and learn the sports industry. If nothing else is true about this industry, the one fact of the industry is loyalty means nothing. With these tweets and the situation in general, a bigger question can be raised. Should teams have to pay homage to there former stars?

To start this off lets look at some of the contracts of the biggest stars in major sports. Derek Jeter, at the age of 39, just signed a one-year contract for $12 million. This comes after he signed a three-year contract for $45 million at the age of 36. Playing in a total of 17 games last year, Jeter hit .190 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. He then injured his ankle and was done for the season.

Bryant’s and Jeter’s situations are even more similar when you look at the situations of their teams. Both the Yankees and the Lakers are in a free fall. Both teams have money tied up in bad contracts and have a general lack of talent on their respective teams. Yet, Jeter and Bryant had no issue taking these large contracts that deter their teams from fixing their issues.

The argument for Jeter and Bryant making their salaries is that they need to be paid not only for what they will do, but what they have done. It is undeniable that these two are among the best of all time in their respective games. Jeter led the Yankees to 5 World Series rings & may go down as the greatest shortstop of all time. Similarly, Kobe has 5 rings and arguments (granted to a lesser extent) have been made that he is the greatest basketball player of all time.

The question ultimately comes down to this. Do teams have pay their long tenured players more because of their past actions. The answer to this question varies. Look at Jim Irsay. He only had to pay Peyton Manning what his contract already was. Instead he released Manning and selected Andrew Luck with the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. This move was praised by some and criticized by other. However, there was one universal agreement, there is no loyalty in sports.

This example can go even further. When Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, he was bombarded with criticism for having a lack of loyalty to his players. Yet, the deal was better for the team, as a whole, in the long term as they brought in expiring contracts and future draft picks to build their team with.

The one option not many people mention is why don’t these players just take less money. That’s the situation of future Hall of Fame PF Dirk Nowitzki. Reports have surfaced that Nowitzki will want to slash his salary by more than half next season so that his team, the Dallas Mavericks, can continue to rebuild. This is an admirable situation, which, unfortunately, does not happen as often as it should in the professional sports.

So is it wrong to trade Pierce or release Manning? At the end of the day, an owner, general manager, and coach need to decide whom they have to be loyal to. Do you have to be loyal to a specific player or an entire team? Last time I checked, there are 52 players on an NFL team and 24 on and MLB team. So why must you be loyal to the minority? Yes this is a utilitarian type of thinking, but it isn’t as far fetched, as it may seem. Must there be more loyalty to Kobe Bryant then an entire team and that teams fan base? That is the ultimate question.

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After winning a playoff series for the first time in a decade, expectations were high for the 2013-2014 New York Knicks. Add in the fact that they play in the most famous arena in the world and the New York media; anything short of a conference finals appearance would have been considered a disappointment. Now a quarter of the way through the season, those expectations seem like a distant memory. At 8-18 lets see what has happened to the Knickerbockers.

The first glaring issue the Knicks have had this year is their lack of presence on the boards. They are ranked 29th in the NBA, averaging only 39 rebounds per game. The reason for this is because they lack physical big men on this team. They were exposed of this weakness even further when starting Center Tyson Chandler was lost for 4-6 weeks with a right fibula fracture. Forced to play 7 foot Power Forward Andrea Bargnani at Center (who averaged 5 rebounds a game in his career), New York constantly failed to grab a contested rebound. In a recent game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Knicks were outrebounded 56-29. This massive problem doesn’t seem to have a solution at the moment, due to the Knicks roster. New Yorks current big men are Chandler, Bargnani, bench warmer Cole Aldrich, and the broken down Amare Stoudemire.

Another prevalent issue with the Knicks is there lack of discipline. Coach Mike Woodson has let the lunatics run the asylum. This has led to constant ill-advised shots, fights in the locker room, and general anarchy around the team. This dysfunction was put on display in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. With :11 seconds on the clock and a two point lead in overtime, Tyson Changler grabbed a big rebound. Chandler then passed the ball out to Bargnani. With the shot clock off, Bargnani inexplicably put up a three and missed. The bucks would then tie the game on their possession and send the game into double overtime. Woodson attempted to put his foot down by setting a 10:00 pm curfew on his players. This did absolutely nothing as New York was blown out the next day. If New York has any chance of righting the ship this season, Woodson needs to go. With a career record of 286-337, he hasn’t exactly been a fantastic coach. The Knicks need a disciplinarian to come in and control this team, which is something Woodson doesn’t offer.

Lastly, someone who encompasses all of the Knicks issues is one is Shooting Guard J.R. Smith. Smith has always been a head case, but this season he has turned into a full out circus. Before he even hit the court this year, J.R. was suspended for the first five games of the season for his third failed drug test for marijuana. In addition, Incarcerated Bob reported that Smith was doing cocaine in nightclubs during the playoffs last year. Once he hit the floor, Smith made Knicks fans wish they got high before watching him. The reigning sixth man of the year is averaging a career low 11.2 points per game. He also has a pitiful field goal percentage of 34.1 (also a career low). The embarrassing year came full circle when Smith put up a record 17 three pointers in a game against the Bucks. Of those 17 shots, he hit five. Smith is a malignant cancer to the Knicks locker room. With his selfishness, lack of game I.Q., and wild behavior, he is a perfect representation of the team as a whole.

Can this team make the playoffs? Maybe. Can this team compete in the playoffs? Absolutely not. The Knicks are the picture of dysfunction and have been for years. In reality, until James Dolan is no longer the owner, the Knicks will stay that way.

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After the blockbuster trade that sent future hall of famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets, the general reaction was very mixed. Some felt that this deal was a steal for the Nets, making them instant championship contenders. Others felt that this was an absolute disaster for the Nets, due to the fact that they gave up three first round picks. However, feelings toward the Celtics were pretty much unanimous. It was clear that the Celtics were going to enter rebuilding mode and analysts felt they were off to a good start with this move. While it is incredibly early in the year, the doubters of the trade have had their assumptions proven correct. Lets break down the Brooklyn Nets early troubles and look ahead to the future.

Old and Slow

A common criticism of the new Nets was that they would be old and slow. This has proven to be quite true. The Nets are being forced to play half court offense and have been awful on the fast break. Younger teams have had their way with the Nets. Take a game where they played the Orlando Magic. The leading candidate in the Andrew Wiggins lottery obliterated the Nets 107-86. In this game, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Afflalo, and Nikola Vucevic all torched their counter parts on both ends of the floor. Oladipo in particular used his speed and athleticism to beat Joe Johnson, Shaun Livingston, and Paul Pierce on multiple occasions. While Oladipo shows promise, he’s still a rookie. What’s going to happen when the Nets play more seasoned veterans like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and cross-town rival Carmelo Anthony? All of these stars feast on fast break opportunities and it seems like they will have a full plate against the Nets.

A Kidd Coaching

Bringing in a head coach fresh off of playing his last year in the NBA as a player is a massive gamble with a high ceiling. Crossing sports, take a look at Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals. He had been the team’s catcher for many years and when he wanted to become a coach St. Louis brought him. In three years as a manager, Matheny has led the Cards to Two World Series Appearances. Jason Kidd has not shown the same promise. Kidd has looked lost late in games, struggled with defensive assignment, and has been abysmal when it comes to time management. Kidd has had an interesting approach when it comes to managing player’s minutes. The Nets have 8 players averaging 20 minutes a night. This is an experiment that could prove a huge payoff come late in the season, or crash and burn massively.

Not Enough Versatility

If you look at Brooklyn’s starting five, they have five players who fit their positions. The problem is, at this point, they are all shells of their former selves. Garnett is completely broken down and may not make it through his contract. Pierce and Johnson are shooters who can play a little bit of on ball defense. Lopez is a scorer but isn’t strong enough to play on defense. Then there is Deron Williams. While he showed flashes of being the All Star PG that the Nets acquired, there has been something off this year. It may be the injured foot or it may just be the possibility that he’s past his prime. The issues get worse when the 2nd unit is just a lesser version of the starting five. Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Jason Terry, and Mason Plumlee are just carbon copies of their starting counterparts. The one thing the Nets need more than anything is a bruising center like Brenden Haywood to make up for the weakness of Brook Lopez.

It needs to be noted that Brooklyn has only played six games this season. Growing pains are expected for a unit as new as this, but that is no excuse. This team looks slow, weak, and old. They wont be able to keep up with teams like the Pacers Heat, and Bulls with this current play.

Gary recaps the Jets victory and looks ahead for the suprising team