NYK@NJN 12.6.07


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

New York 100, Nets 93

Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 6 — A day after accepting a gift-victory down in Cleveland, against a LeBron-less Cavaliers\’ squad, to up their record to .500, at 9-9, the New Jersey Nets seemed poised to go over that mark with a \’sure-thing\’ victory against the woeful New York Knickerbockers. Instead, the day proved that there is no such thing as a \’sure thing\’ in the NBA.

In a game that New Jersey should have won in the opening minutes, with or without Jason Kidd, against a weaker team that was dispirited, it was the New York Knickerbockers that carried the day in the Meadowlands. They led almost start-to-finish, except for the opening moments, and posted a 100-93 victory, if you could call it that, against the Kidd-less Nets.

So, what went wrong? Well, a lot!*

It seems that even before the starting lineups were announced, starting PG Jason Kidd, reserve SG Antoine Wright and reserve PF Josh Boone were scratched from the lineup. Kidd was a no-show as fourth-string PG Eddie Gill was penciled into the starting lineup for New Jersey instead.

Now, can you imagine? A game against the cross-river rival New York Knickerbockers and future-Hall-of-Fame PG Jason Kidd is not there to guide the Nets to victory in a game that\’ll put \’em over .500?

I rubbed my eyes twice as the big-screen telecast [I was covering the game from the West coast] displayed a graphic showing a Kidd-less New Jersey Nets starting lineup that I couldn\’t fathom. Was he hurt?

I didn\’t hear anything about it and the broadcast didn\’t shed much light on his absence. It seemed an ominous portent that New Jersey might lose even against lowly New York. After all, they couldn\’t put up a single victory against any opposition without Vince Carter. Why not also without Jason Kidd?

Further, the conspicuous absence of Jason Kidd seemed to offset the necessary absence of Stephon Marbury on the other side as he was burying his father. [Condolences to the bereaved family.]

C Eddy Curry, too, was out nursing a suddenly sprained ankle. Did this balance out Antoine Wright\’s and Josh Boone\’s unavailability as well?

Anyway, the game got underway, and while it seemed that the Nets had enough talent out there to easily cruise to a much-needed victory despite the absence of Jason Kidd, they played so wild, wacky, sloppily and disjointedly as to lose a game that was theirs for the taking. As badly as the Knickerbockers wanted to give this one away, it seemed New Jersey wanted to hand it right back to them even more.

The Nets quickly fell behind after the first few baskets to hang on to a seven-point deficit at the final buzzer. Jason Collins was sent in during the final minutes of the fourth quarter when New Jersey was threatening. Were Coach Lawrence Frank and his players truly afraid to put another \’nail in the coffin\’ of embattled Knickerbockers\’ Head Coach Isiah Thomas? Did they want to lose one for Steph?

That is what it seemed like … more and more … as the strange evening wore on. As sorry a bunch of dispirited losers the demoralized Knicks seemed to be, the Nets always seemed bent on outdoing them even more. \”Excuse me, but can I lose? No, let me do the honor!\” It seemed to be the order of the day.

Each team had an excuse for losing. The Knicks were without their starting center and point-guard. New Jersey was missing Jason Kidd.

Every time you thought the Nets would make a game of it and surely come back against small deficits, assume the lead and prevail – they didn\’t! I couldn\’t believe that I wasted some two hours of my life watching what amounted to no more than \’streetyard basketball.\’ I could go to Coney Island for that!

Dismal was not the word to describe this game. Try: *%%#*&*%$#*!

While PG Eddie Gill seemed to do somewhat of a credible job out there in Jason Kidd\’s stead for a while, the entire match was so putrid, from start to finish, that it simply isn\’t worth formally recapping. Zach Randolph (25 points) and Jamal Crawford (29 points) got their points and were the best players for the Knicks. Richard Jefferson (31 points), Vince Carter (19 points) and Bostjan Nachbar (16 points) were the best for New Jersey.

It all came to a merciful conclusion 2:29 after it started. After it was all over, I saw a smiling Vince Carter embracing a seemingly shaken, but grateful, Isiah Thomas on the Knickerbocker\’s bench. Merry Christmas, Isiah!

NOTES: A phantom foul was called on Eddie Gill for Jamal Crawford\’s benefit that put a dent in a New Jersey run that threatened to overtake the Knickerbockers. Jamal got three shots even though he wasn\’t touched. [Replay confirmed it!]

Poor Boki Nachbar, flying to the basket for a missed-dunk off a breakaway in Q2, got viciously slapped upside the head by Knicks\’ SF Jared Jeffries on the way in. He could barely hit one of his freethrows afterward.

For a second, I thought Knicks\’ SF Renaldo Balkman was Referee Violet Palmer from behind. It had something to do with his 50lb hairdo or head-dress that he was wearing.

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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