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Game 37 Preview: Blazers vs. Nets

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A Look at the Nets

New Jersey sits at 18-18 on the season, coming off of a loss to Boston Friday night.  They led much of that game and simply got squashed when the Celtics put the pedal down in the fourth quarter.  I'm hoping they're not angry.  They're veterans, right? Veterans take losses in stride.  Yeah.  In stride.

The Nets are one of those teams that's equally capable of scoring 100 or 70.  It just depends on the night.  They're not a good shooting team in any aspect.  They're not great defenders either.  Despite the presence of perennial assist-junkie Jason Kidd they play an enormous amount of one-on-one basketball with Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson.  They're a very good defensive rebounding team.  They don't block shots or force turnovers.  In short they're the Toyota Camry of the basketball world:  reliable, comfortable, a few nice features...not going to set the world on fire.

There are two big no-no's while facing the Nets.  One is letting one of their two huge scorers have a career night.  Carter and Jefferson are both capable of humiliating you like a wedding reception on YouTube.  Both are athletic, experienced, and dangerous from anywhere.  The second is getting into the kind of grind-it-out, one-on-one game they play so well.  They will beat you if you walk it up, toss it to somebody, and watch.  They will rebound it and do the same thing right back to you, but their guys are better at it.  You must move the ball and make them follow.  At that point they won't be able (or willing) to keep up defensively and the game should be in your hands.

What I'd Like to See

  1.  We're going to be tired, so we need to be on top of this game from the outset.  A quick start is mandatory.
  2.  Outside of the Big Three of Kidd, Jefferson, and Carter this team is a Who's Who of Guys You've Never Heard Of.  (OK, that's too harsh, but still.)  Other than dunks, encourage EVERYONE outside of the volume guys to shoot quickly and often.
  3.  Move and hit your jumpers.  Our cutting, passing, drive-and-dish offense is made for this team.  They can't guard the outside very well.  James Jones and Martell Webster better be back on tonight.  It'll help if Channing stays hot as well.  Those guys may well make the difference.
  4.  The Nets are 5-10 when the opponent scores 100.  Scoring 100 would be a good idea for us, don't you think?
--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)