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The Other Side: New Jersey Nets


Nah, I was just saying, "You could've been a Wizard." (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

For the first time this season, the New Jersey Nets will face the Washington Wizards with a losing record. The Nets won both teams' season opener on Oct. 29, and carried a 9-7 record into their matchup on Dec. 2. On that night, the Wizards handed the Nets one of their worst defeats of the season; a 108-88 beatdown that featured two rare occurrences for the Wizards -- DeShawn Stevenson couldn't miss (he made 5 of 8 three-pointers) and the Wizards shared the ball (they had a season-high 33 assists).

The Nets rebounded to win their next two games and push their record to 11-8, but they haven't been above .500 since Dec. 19, when Devin Harris exploded for 41 points to lead New Jersey to a 121-97 win against his former team, Dallas. Since that victory, the Nets have gone 9-15 and are now 22-27. But since the Wizards are the only Eastern Conference team with no shot at the postseason, the Nets are just ½ game out of the eighth spot in the playoffs.

The Nets have won their past two games, defeating Philadelphia, 85-83, on Saturday and Milwaukee, 99-85, on Tuesday. Here's what else you need to know about the Nets before they play the Wizards tonight at Verizon Center:

1. Brook Lopez Has a Girl's Name, But a Man's Game
With teams focusing more attention on Devin Harris and Vince Carter, rookie center Brook Lopez has emerged as a trusty third option in recent weeks. Lopez has led the Nets in scoring the past two games, posting 24 points and 17 rebounds against Philadelphia, and 22 points and 12 rebounds against Milwaukee. Lopez was named to the Rookie Challenge team and recently broke Chicago point guard Derrick Rose's reign as Eastern Conference rookie of the month after averaging 14.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in January. He has had six games this season with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, and team President Rod Thorn feels lucky that Lopez landed in the Nets' lap at the 10th pick last summer. The Nets realize that Lopez, whom the Newark Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro calls, "Senor Pez," hasn't tapped his potential but are encouraged with the progress he has already made.

2. Devin Harris Is an All Star
Who knew that when the Nets traded Jason Kidd to Dallas last February that they'd have the all star a year later? Devin Harris became the 11th player in Nets history to make the all-star team. Harris, whom Washington drafted for Dallas in 2004, joins Buck Williams (three times), Otis Birdsong, Micheal Ray Richardson, Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson, Jayson Williams, Stephon Marbury, Kenyon Martin, Jason Kidd (five times) and Vince Carter (three times). Harris was incredible the first two months of the season, averaging 23.3 points, but he cooled off in January, averaging just 16.6 points and getting benched in a blowout loss against Boston on Jan. 17. Carter was not added to his ninth all-star team, but he might be pushing for David Stern to add him as an injury replacement for Orlando's Jameer Nelson (right shoulder) after returning from an ankle injury to post his fifth career triple-double (15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds) against Milwaukee.

3. Josh Boone Is Lending a Helping Hand
Maryland native and former UConn star Josh Boone has missed 13 games this season with a left ankle injury, and is averaging just 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in his third season. But at least one Nets fan is hoping that he stays in New Jersey for a while. Boone saw a tractor-trailer pin Scott Koplik's car into a concrete barrier and drive off. Instead of driving on, Boone pulled over and called 911 for help.

By Michael Lee  |  February 4, 2009; 1:12 PM ET
 
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Comments

Please no more Devin Harris reminders...

Good act by Boone. If he's on the trading block, should the Wizards inquire at least?

Posted by: RedDMV | February 4, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say the same thing! Haha! He should be ours, man i hope this team gets healthy and rebounds next year, like the Heat have.

Posted by: avbanig | February 4, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Boone pulled over and called 911 for help. "
Let's hope someone in the Wizzie org. calls 911.
We need HELP too.

Storyline for postgame tonite.

3 Ball Kills Wizzies.
You know Dooling will hit about 10 3's.
Game will be a blowout in the 4th Q. as usual.
AJ & CB will play 40+ and be worn down a little more & burnt out a little more.
Harris & Carter will get about 30 each.

Hmmmmmmmmm. Now I'm gonna hafta watch just to see how close I am.


Posted by: VBFan | February 4, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"it makes me think.... maybe our young guys aren't that great!"

BLASPHEMY!!

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 4, 2009 3:14 PM

So damn funny.

There is no Calvary coming. I have tried to remain optimistic about some of these guys and still am to a reduced degree for McGee & Critt...greatly reduced degree NY.

The team has mortgaged the future on Gilbert and he is not interested in playing this year. Maybe he will feel like it next year. Maybe he simply can't play anywhere close to where he once did.

The interim coach only with the last game questioned the level of effort of the team.

Clearly the team has been hurt by injuries but they were so last year and yet managed to find an identity. They battled and scrapped their way to a winning record; a truly enjoyable season. This team has no identity, a questionable work ethic and no unity.

Like so many others I have followed this team for many years. At this point I cannot even justify the time I spend lamenting about these conditions on here. I am going to take a hiatus, maybe check in towards the end of the year and if not perhaps before the start of the next year. I wish everyone well and hope to see this franchise in better shape in the near future. Take care everyone.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | February 4, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I understand the sentiment, Shadow. At this point I can't really muster any meaningful emotional investment in the team. I keep watching because I just enjoy watching bball. But I have no more invested emotionally in the outcome right now than I would in the number of clowns they could fit into one of those tiny cars at the circus.

I will say, however, that as dim a view as I have of Blatche and Young as cornerstones, Crittenton looks like the real deal. He's got some work to do, but he does things on the floor right now at the PG position that really can't be taught at this level. Either a guy has it or he doesn't. I think he does.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 4, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. No love for Nick Young. I'm surprised. Admittedly, he has shown a tendency to take bad shots when he should just move the ball. And maybe he'll never grow out of that. But he can also create his own shot, and there are lots of NBA caliber guys who can't. And Nick can shoot lights out when he gets open looks. With Gil on the floor or against bench guys, Nick will get open looks. I'm holding out hope for a third season.

Now Blatche, he's had the time to mature, and maybe we're seeing the best he'll ever be. Which ain't great, but not bad either. Still light years better than Kwame Brown ever was. So I'll give him that. I could see him being an effective backup at the power forward spot with a healthy BTH. So we'll see how that goes.

Long story short, I've not thrown in the towel on either one of these guys.

Posted by: Matte | February 4, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

If Lopez's parent only added an 's' at the end of his name, then he could be manly like Brooks Robinson or that old man who killed himself in Shawshank Redemption.

Posted by: truthaboutit | February 4, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz have made the rumor circuit
nba-trade-rumors.com had this :

Whoever had T-Mac goin 2 da Timberwolves 4 Mike Miller is crazy. 4 one if T-Mac gets traded it will be to an Eastern Conference Team like T-Mac and Aaron Brooks for Allen Iverson and Rip Hamilton. Another one could be Antwan Jamison for lamar odom and luke walton, Caron Butler for Shane battier, luther head and a draft pick.

Posted by: SkinzNWiz | February 4, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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