LAC@NJN 12.11.07

Q4 Funk Snuffs Out Nets\’ Chances

By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com


Clippers 91, Nets 82


Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 11 — In a civil – but lackluster – contest that was even for the most part after three, the Nets went into a terrible shooting funk during the critical fourth quarter missing 20-of-25 from the floor in dropping another winnable match to a team with a worse record coming in – The Los Angeles Clippers. New Jersey has now lost four straight and eight-of-nine as they fall to 9-13 on the season. The Clippers move to 8-12.


The shooting funk was all the more remarkable in that up to that point, with 10:41 to go in the fourth, the Nets were, at least, holding their own; they were only down by four. As the marksmanship futility on the part of the Nets unfolded thereafter, the big question was whether New Jersey was going to set a record for fewest field goals scored in a quarter?


For those interested in statistics that don\’t mean a heck of a lot unless you win, superstar PG Jason Kidd notched another triple-double – the 96th of his stellar career. 11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists got it done. SF Richard Jefferson put up 21 points and Vince Carter had only 14 – both in sub par shooting efforts from the floor.


The only somewhat bright spot for New Jersey was reserve C Josh Boone, who split time with starting C Jason Collins. In 27 minutes he recorded 14 rebounds (seven on the offensive glass) to go with half as many points, two blocks, two steals and an assist.


Josh did some good things out there at times, but budding all-Star C Chris Kaman overwhelmed the Nets big men for the most part … recording his eleventh double-double of the season … with 18 points and fourteen rebounds. Honorable mention goes to Nets starting PF Malik Allen for a hot hand (in the first half) that saw him finish with 14 points on 7-of-13 from the floor.


Now, where did the Q-4 \’sleeping sickness\’ come from? Is it curable?*


Swamps, like the one that the Meadowlands\’ IZOD Center is built upon, are known for \”bad air\” or malaria – also known as \’sleeping sickness.\’ Perhaps a few mosquitoes wriggled loose from under the floorboards during the contest and left their marks on most of the Nets\’ personnel that dared venture out on to the floor during that fateful quarter?


That may have invariably caused the Nets to hurl bricks at the mosquitoes – instead of the hoops – in hopes of eradicating the pest! It would seem to make sense as nothing but \’bricks\’ were flying for most of that quarter.


Boy was it contagious!? You can also buy into an alternative theory that the Nets were overcome by a sudden surge of swamp gas – the kind that makes you woozy so that you can\’t shoot straight. It is the only thing that\’ll explain the Nets troubles at home.


[Oh, well! What the heck do I care? I didn\’t part with a few hundred of hard-earned dollars to attend the game, but rather covered the game from the West Coast by means of a telecast safely ensconced in a comfortable chair over a fifty-dollar dinner.]


Oh, yeah! Getting back to the game … this strange affair: The Nets were the team that \’couldn\’t shoot straight\’ – not the Clippers!


If that weren\’t enough, the home fans started booing not long after the Nets embarked into the Q4. As the scoring drought persisted and grew deeper … the rumble went on.


I was afraid that some of the crowd might get trampled as the rush to the exits got underway. At the merciful end … a lone boy stood quietly while Brooklyn native and Clippers\’ Coach Mike Dunleavy patiently autographed his basketball.


NOTES: The only stat that mattered is that New Jersey shot 32% from the floor compared with the Clippers at 45%. The Clippers also had nine more rebounds.


The Q-4 funk (read: abject shooting slump) that spanned nine minutes and thirty-nine seconds (the 10:41 mark on down to 1:02 left) saw New Jersey miss 15 straight shots. Of those fifteen shots, four of them were blocked, but that has got to be some sort of a record in futility for any team this season.


Credit the Clippers for playing well when it counted as Clippers\’ SF Tim Thomas looked sharp in scoring 18 points for the visitors, but C Chris Kaman\’s double-double (18 and 14), his 11th of the young season, truly made him the game MVP.


Reserve L.A. SF Ruben Patterson (9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in 24 minutes) added much needed hustle and clutch scoring over his counterpart in Richard Jefferson. There was no sign of rookie PF/C Sean Williams or PF/C Jamaal Magloire in this one.


Reserve rookie SF Al Thornton (8 points and six boards) played well as he had a big sky-jam put back of a Clippers\’ miss with the off-hand … swooping in from the three-point arc … to make it go down over the head of Vince Carter … who thought he had the rebound. Like with SF Jason Maxiell\’s similar play at Detroit, it took some of the wind out of New Jersey\’s sails.


The announcers for the Clippers\’ broadcast remarked about how the Nets were \”slump-starters\” in that they get every season underway [during the Lawrence Frank-era] in a slump before pulling out and ending with a flourish. That\’s an interesting way of putting it that probably introduced a new concept to the basketball lexicon.


NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2007 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at kathyforkids@cs.com

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