Carter is head of the family

carter250_120408.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vince Carter made the statement and now he and the Nets have to back it up.

After the Wizards blasted the Nets by 20 Tuesday night, Carter said, “The next team has to pay for it — plain and simple.”

As one comment here said, Carter sounded all Sopranos. I should have thought about that. It does sound Sopranos. Good call.
 
After reading the comment, it brought to mind Tim Thomas calling Kenyon Martin “fugazy,” and “a fugazy tough guy,” during the 2004 postseason. It’s a word from the movie Donnie Brasco, meaning fake, and Thomas’interview goes down as one of the best in my book.
 
I could go on and on about all the mob movies and their great lines and make similarities, but let’s get back to the Nets, who play not too far from the Bada Bing, by the way.

So, Carter made the statement and as the capo, I mean captain, it’s up to him to set the tone tomorrow against the Timberwolves and his consigliere, or point guard, rather, Devin Harris to join the whacking — I mean fun.

This is a big game for the Nets, a chance for them to prove that the Washington game was just a bad night that could have been impacted by landing at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning from Phoenix and their body clocks being off.

No excuses, but it happens. You give it a pass if they come to play against the Timberwolves and show the same fight they did out West. They should because they had time to rest — they had off on Wednesday — and get everything straight, and now the next team has to pay for it.

“You always like when guys take ownership and want to be accountable,” coach Lawrence Frank said after today’s practice. “To be a team you play for each other and you need your best players to take ownership, but there has to be collective responsibility.”

Carter said, “It’s up to Devin and myself. We definitely have to come out with more pop, attack mode and set the pace for us. We have to set the tone early for what we’re trying to accomplish. We set the bar.”

Eventually, and it probably should start tomorrow, the Nets have to establish something at home. They’re 3-5 and have been on low energy too often and too often against what one might consider teams that aren’t as good as they are: Golden State, Indiana and Washington. The Timberwolves would seem to fall into that category so this could be a dangerous night.

Minnesota is 4-13, including 2-7 on the road. A loss tomorrow and the Nets could look at a three-game losing streak because they’re in Philadelphia on Saturday. Then again, the Nets play better on the road for some reason.
 
But they have to right their wrongs at home because most of their games this month are at Izod Center. They can’t waste an opportunity to build on what they did out West because let’s be honest. If they go 0-3 this week, it totally negates their 3-1 trip. Confidence drops, you start searching for what’s wrong, and everyone will wonder what happened to Carter and Harris?

To avoid that, the Nets have to come out against Minnesota — no gimme, with Al Jefferson and Mike Miller — with the passion and urgency they had out West.

The Nets would be wise to listen to Carter. You never go against the family.

* * *

Sean Williams (stomach illness), Maurice Ager (sick), Jarvis Hayes (shoulder), Josh Boone (left ankle) and Eduardo Najera (back) didn’t practice. Hayes will play tomorrow, but Boone, Najera and probably Ager are out.

Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).

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