Kushchenko used to run CSKA Moscow and is Mikhail Prokhorov’s most trusted basketball adviser. He was the one who pushed Prokhorov to buy the Nets, so make no mistake: this is a very telling visit. Apparently, he was in town for a board meeting and stayed for practice.
Deron Williams and Paul Pierce both could return to game action tomorrow against Boston.
The two injured Nets stars both returned to practice today. Williams (ankle sprain) has been slated to return tomorrow night against the Celtics, but Pierce was originally expected to miss 2-4 weeks for a non-displaced fracture of his hand.
However, Tim Bontemps reports Pierce told the media there’s a “good chance” he’ll play against the Celtics tomorrow.
Bontemps also says Pierce was wearing a modified glove with the fingers cut off, presumably to give his hand some protection.
Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) and Jason Terry (knee) did not practice.
Huge surprise on Pierce, who just last week, was written off for the better part of a month (and even some said that was conservative). Is this a coincidence that he’s rushing back into the lineup and the Nets’ first meeting with the Celtics just happens to be tomorrow night? Probably not, but either way, this could
be a big lift for Brooklyn.
Jason Kidd won’t be on the hot seat until the Nets get healthy.
Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News writes that the Nets brass is willing to give Kidd an opportunity to see what he can do with a full roster, even if the early signs haven’t been encouraging:
“Kidd isn’t in as much trouble as you’d think. The Nets don’t believe they’ll get an accurate picture of what he can do as a coach until they’ve got their full complement of players. That means the clock isn’t ticking on him until after Deron Williams comes back and starts playing regularly.
I’ve heard something similar, and it makes sense. It’s not completely fair to judge Kidd’s job performance when Toko Shengelia is forced into minutes in crucial spots. That said, if Kidd can’t pull a better effort than blow out losses out of his depleted roster, it might be fair to say he’ll never be more than a babysitter: a coach who gets the expected out of his players and nothing more. Not that a lot of coaches haven’t made a nice living playing that role, but I think some Nets fans (myself included) were hopeful the Nets may be on the forefront of the next wave in young coaching. Thus far, the returns haven’t been great.
Read more: NY Daily News (Lawrence)
Remember how the Nets were going to run away from playing isolation this year? Apparently, Jason Kidd has changed his mind.
After the Nets’ offense went through Brook Lopez in their win over the Bucks, Kidd said that this will be Brooklyn’s identity, even when Deron Williams returns from a sprained ankle:
“This is who we are,” Kidd told reporters. “We have to get the ball inside [...] We’re not a team that’s going to zoom up and down and try to score 100 points every night.”
This comes in stark contrast to the rhetoric we heard when Kidd was hired, and it worries me that Brooklyn has defaulted to this strategy. The Nets played more isolation than anyone last year, and it made their offense stale and predictable. The fans hated it, and opponents loved it, especially the Bulls, who picked it apart in the playoffs. I get that injuries, and a sudden decline by Kevin Garnett, have sort of forced Kidd’s hand here. But I do think it’s going to be a real problem that your star player, one who said that you can’t beat good teams with isolation play, is going to be forced back into a system he despises.
Right now, Lopez is the only effective offensive player the Nets have. He’s a walking mismatch for most big men in the league, and the Nets should absolutely take advantage of that down low. But someone is going to have to explain to me how this is less “vanilla” than Avery Johnson’s system.
Read more: NY Daily News (Bondy)
The Celtics and Raptors both won, the Knicks lost while the Nets and Sixers had the night off.
The Nets are now 3 games back of the division leading Celtics.
To read more about the Nets check out the beat reports on ESPN NY, NY Post, NY Daily News. and Newsday.
The Nets will be back in action Tuesday night when they host the Boston Celtics. The game will be televised on YES at 7:30 PM
Last night, the Nets won on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks, holding the Bucks to just 82 points, a season-low in points allowed for the Nets this season.
Brook Lopez led the way offensively with 32 points on 11-of-13 (84.6%) shooting, a season-high in both points scored and shooting percentage for the big man.
It was an extremely efficient game for Lopez, as the Nets went to their best player early and often, and he responded with a dominant performance on both ends of the court.
After the game, Lopez praised the way his teammates got him open in creative ways, and how they did a great job with their teamwork and communication throughout the game.
“It’s absolutely getting better each day. When we put in the work and we come out and talk to each other and trust each other, it’s great.”
Jon Presser, Contributor
There’s no doubt that when the Nets are playing fluid, team basketball, they’re a completely different team. Lopez is the straw the stirs the drink. As Lopez goes, the Nets go, and he’s embracing that role here in his sixth season.
Not just the scoring machine he’s been in the past, Lopez’s game has evolved to the point that he’s an all-around force when he’s on his game. Lopez took full advantage of a depleted Milwaukee squad, showing a lead-by-example killer instinct that’s becoming more and more common for the 25-year-old big man.
It’s been fun to watch, and the truth has never been more evident. Even with the presence of future Hall-of-Famers and All-Stars galore, this is Brook Lopez’s team, and the Nets are in good hands with the young center leading the way.
The Nets won and the Sixers lost while the Celtics, Knicks and Raptors all had the night off.
The Nets picked up a half game to close to within 2.5 games back of the division leading Celtics.
To read more about the Nets must win victory in Milwaukee check out the beat reports on ESPN NY, NY Post, NY Daily News. and Newsday.
The Nets will be back in action Tuesday night when they host the Boston Celtics in Brooklyn. The game will be televised on YES at 7:30 PM
The Nets (6-14) beat the Bucks (4-16) tonight by a score of 90-82.
The Least You Should Know
The Nets got 20 big first half points from Brook Lopez
and only turned the ball over one time in the half only to be down 40-39.
They had a mere six assists and shot 35 percent at halftime which should tell the story of the night. The Nets won the notorious third quarter 26-19 and held on the rest of the way.
It was a struggle all night long but the Nets, with a more verbal Jason Kidd roaming the sidelines, rode their big man to a hard fought victory on the road.
Joe Johnson sealed it in the final minutes with some big shots to finish with 15 points.
Lopez led all scorers with 32 points in 40 minutes. He was 11-of-13 from the field, 10-for-11 from the free throw line and grabbed seven rebounds.
Four Nets players (Brook Lopez – 32, Joe Johnson – 15, Alan Anderson – 13, Andray Blatche – 11) scored in double figures.
OJ Mayo led the Bucks in scoring with 22 points.
Stat of the Night: The Nets actually won the third quarter 26-19.
John Paolantonio, Contributor
The Nets were desperate for a win tonight coming off the debacle at Barclays on Thursday and if it came at the hands of the worst team, record-wise in the East, they would take it. That is how desperate this team is right now to find a way to put a mark in the left side of the box score.
It cannot be understated how badly this team is struggling to find some kind of chemistry or identity. Whatever you call it the Nets need a ton of it.
Jason Kidd is making changes on the fly and tonight he made a concerted effort to pound the ball into his best player, Brook Lopez, and it got the Nets a win.
Nothing to get too excited about for sure with beating the worst team in the Eastern Conference but they cant take it away from them now.
Beat the Celtics Tuesday night and maybe we can start to say they found something.
Brooklyn will be back in action on Tuesday night when they host the Boston Celtics. Tip is at 7:30 PM on YES.