The Nets came into tonight’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies as losers of 7 of 10, most recently a last-second loss to a Celtics team with an average player-age of 16 years, four months. Dave D’Allesandro, in his most recent NJ.com Nets Blast says that, unlike the Giants — their similarly enigmatic neighbors across the footbridge over the Turnpike — at least the Nets aren’t blaming the media for anything.
They™re in flames, everyone knows it, there was nothing written this morning that isn™t accurate, they™re grateful that we don™t dwell on ugly details, and these guys are professional enough to know that you don™t shoot the messenger.
Which is good, since no one wanted to hear Bostjan Nachbar sing “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” but didn’t take away from the team’s serious problems.
When the 5-13 Celtics come in, and only two of their 11 available guys have more than two years’ experience in the NBA, and they fall into a 20-point hole, and they™re the team that plays with veteran poise down the stretch, you™re getting awfully close to that time when you should put the damn balls away.
…(I)t™s beginning to look as though they™re ready to pack it in. It™s a shame, but it happens to the best of them. As everyone knows, this team has had a very good run “ nearly a great one “ and sometimes after you run into the wall long enough you say, œHell with it. Maybe the effort it takes to get to the next level is too great for all of them, so they won™t even try.
Tonight, the Nets bounced back by beating an awful Grizzlies team. Jason Kidd recorded his 79th career triple-double, moving into third place on the all-time list; Vince Carter set a team record for 3-pointers in a game (9, in 20 mostly undefended attempts); Jersey’s lead was double-digits almost throughout. All in all, another day at the office…for the Grizzlies, the worst team in the NBA. The Nets, for their part, still seemed to be playing at half-speed. D’Allesandro hinted at broader problems in his regular Newark Star-Ledger column:
For weeks, there have been whispers — from players and management types, who for obvious reasons don’t want to speak for the record — that this team has legitimate chemistry issues, personality conflicts and breakdowns in mutual trust. For the most part, these matters are unrelated to their jobs, but it has had a profound effect on their performances.
One player, who also requested anonymity so as not to disclose his team’s dysfunction, was glib: “We’d make a pretty good HBO series right now,” he said.
On the couldn’t-possibly-help side of things, another sports blog linked to an story about a speculative and (inevitably) unnamed bisexual Nets star on an ultra-obscure internet news site that specializes in catching famous black people “looking gay”. The blog won’t be named, either. But I don’t really have to, I guess, if I mention that they filed their post under “Unsubstantiated Web Rumors That We Merely Link To Rather Than Report Ourselves In Order To Give Us Some Sort Of Half-Assed Way Out In Case The Story Turns Out To Be Complete Bullshit, Which Seems More Than A Little Likely, But Hey It’s Still Fun And Will Make For Some Pretty Amusing Comments So Don’t Yell At Us We’re Just A Blog After All.” Because, seriously, they did.