Tagged: Josh Boone

Nets end season with ugly loss to Knicks

knicksblogalb250.jpgNEW YORK — The Nets ended their season at Madison Square Garden last night with a 102-73 loss to the Knicks — without Vince Carter and Devin Harris — and now begin what should be another busy offseason.
Will coach Lawrence Frank be back? Will Carter? What’s Yi Jianlian’s future — a bust or a contributor? Who will they draft? Will they trade their pick? Will they make any big deals?
The quick answers to all of this are maybe, probably, we’ll see, the best available player, perhaps and they’ll try. The real answers will come soon enough. Before we look ahead, here’s a look back at 2008-09:

Carter beats out Harris because he was healthier, came to play every night and led this team to the last game. Carter embraced his role as captain. He led by example, played hurt and helped give the young guys a role model to follow.
5 Biggest Surprises
1. Brook Lopez: You don’t normally find a potential franchise center with the No. 10 pick
2. The Nets: With eight new faces they stayed in the playoff race longer than expected
3. Devin Harris: Went from essentially a complementary player in Dallas to an All-Star here
4. Ryan Anderson: Scored more points than eight players taken ahead of him
5. Keyon Dooling: We knew he was good, but had a career year and was instant energy
5 Biggest Disappointments
1. Yi Jianlian: Just when he looked like he got it, he broke his pinky and went backward
2. Home Play: Nets were 19-22 at Izod Center and lost 13 games by at least 10 points
3. Eduardo Najera: Nets may have been better defensively and overall if he wasn’t hurt all season
4. No Moves: Management tried, but never found a third point guard or upgraded the roster in-season
5. Josh Boone: Didn’t improve and Lopez’s emergence didn’t inspire him to raise his game
5 Games to Remember
1. Nets 129, Raptors 127 (OT), Nov. 21, Air Canada Centre
Harris was in the back sick, returned and had a great second half, but this game was about Carter’s game-tying three in regulation and his alley-oop dunk to win in OT.
2. Nets 98, Sixers 96, Feb. 23, Izod Center
Harris’ halfcourt heave with Andre Iguodala draped all over him was shot of the year; the kind that made you think the Nets were going to be a Cinderella playoff team – guess not.
3. Nets 121, Mavs 97, Dec. 19, IZOD Center
In Jason Kidd’s return, an inspired Harris had 41 points and 13 assists against his old team, leading the fans to chants of “Thank you, Cuban,” to Mavs’ owner Mark.
4. Nets 117, Suns 109, Nov. 30, U.S. Airways Center

Harris’ 47 points helped the Nets cap a 3-1 trip and end a 14-game drought in the desert. Harris became an All-Star on this trip.
5. Nets 114, Nuggets 70, Feb. 7, IZOD Center
Denver never saw this one coming. Who did? This was an all-out annihilation of one of the NBA’s best teams.
5 Games to Forget

1. Bucks 107, Nets 78, March 30, IZOD Center
They should have asked for some stamps because they mailed this one in one day after a no-show in Minnesota.
2. Celtics 105, Nets 86, Jan. 17, IZOD Center
Young fans had to watch this matinee massacre and their favorite players, Harris and Carter, benched for the second half.
3. Wizards 108, Nets 88, Dec. 2, IZOD Center
Coming off a 3-1 West trip, the Nets left their legs and us-against-everyone mentality in another time zone.
4. Clippers 107, Nets 105, March 15, Staples Center

Everyone remembers the foul up three and Steve Novak’s game-winner, but the Nets played with no urgency while still in the playoff race.
5. Golden State 116, Nets 112, March 11, Oracle Arena
Nets led this game by 14 and were outscored in the second half, 63-45. It was a bad omen to start the 0-4 trip that ultimately sealed their playoff fate.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)

With loss to Celtics, Nets eliminated from playoffs


BOSTON — Hope was over long before the game was. The Nets needed a miracle to make the playoffs. They needed to rely on the Knicks and other teams to help them out and they had to run the table.

But early on last night, the Knicks were down 30-9 to Detroit. The Pistons have struggled but they’re not going to let the Knicks come back from that.

So as the Nets were fighting the Celtics to the end, they were already eliminated for the second straight year. Predictably, the Knicks didn’t help them and in the end the Nets didn’t help themselves.

They lost, 106-104, to Boston in a game that mirrored so many the Nets have played this season and especially the last six weeks. They were up, then down, then battled back and were within a shot of winning the game.

How many times have you seen this game? How many times have the Nets played this game? Since March 1 the Nets have played 14 that were close in the fourth and could have gone either way. They won three and lost 11.

“Tonight kind of speaks a lot for the whole season,” Devin Harris said. “I thought we played well for half, a little bit more than half the game. But defensively we didn’t get the stops that we needed at the end of the game, and the shots woul dn’t fall for us.

“It’s disappointing because obviously we were picked last but we had high hopes coming into the season.”

Vince Carter missed a go-ahead three with about eight seconds left and Harris a game-tying long two with right before the buzzer. Maybe if the Nets won it would have taken some of the sting out of not making the playoffs, but for the most part the locker room was quiet.

Carter was upset. He wanted to captain this team to the postseason.They lasted longer than anyone expected for anyone looking for small victories.

Harris was upset. He came from Dallas, where you played deep into the postseason every year. Veteran Jarvis Hayes was very down. Coach Lawrence Frank couldn’t reflect on it yet. He only wanted to talk about the game.

This was inevitable, but it still hurts because you think anything is possible. Still, the Nets knew the odds were long and they put themselves in this position by not winning games they should have won and not being able to close out games.

Overall, though, the Nets have a bright future with Harris and rookie center Brook Lopez, fellow rookies Ryan Anderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Veterans Keyon Dooling and Hayes gave the second unit stability and Dooling has been very good as a starter.

The Nets have to figure out how Yi Jianlian fits in. They will add a draft pick, try to sign some players and make some trades so they avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight season.

They wanted this year to end by making all those who picked them to finish near at the bottom of the Eastern Conference eat crow. The Nets had their chances. And even though they stayed in the race longer than anyone thought, there were many long faces, blank stares and heads shaking in the Nets’ locker room.

Collectively they shouldn’t forget how it felt and what led to this. They had their chances and they know it.

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

Nets lose game, and might lose Harris to injury


NEW ORLEANS –The Nets have gone from worrying about Devin Harris’ mental health to his physical well being.
By the end of the Nets’ 102-92 loss to the Hornets last night you almost forgot what happened with Harris the last time he played. For those who forgot: He sat on the bench with a towel over his head, benched along with Vince Carter by coach Lawrence Frank in a Boston slaughter.
How would Harris respond was the biggest question for the last few days. That turned into how is Harris?
The Nets’ leading scorer couldn’t finish this game, as he sat the final 15:57 because of a sore rib that he already has had x-rays on and will have more tests on today.
A CT Scan will be done to determine the severity of the injury, but it can’t be good since Harris described the pain as “sharp,” and said it was “hard to breathe.”
By the end of the game, the Nets’ fourth straight loss wasn’t as important as the possible loss of Harris. For how long? Who knows? He thought he was fine and going to be able to play and then his body forced him to bench himself.
Harris shot just 1-of-11 and had six points. Had he not been hurt there would have been some conspiracy theorists who questioned whether this is the first sign of Harris getting Frank back. There are probably some out there already.
But Harris was hurt. You could see it when he went to the basket and reached for his oblique, or took a shot and reached for his side. He also said he hit the basket pad a time or two.
Harris wasn’t hitting shots early, but he wasn’t playing badly when the Nets were building a nine-point lead in the first half. He was making plays for his teammates with four assists in the first half and two steals. But he couldn’t finish, just like the Nets.
This was a winnable game to open this four-game trip against a seemingly beaten Hornets team, playing without two starters and their backup center. Carter came out on fire, ready to put the benching behind him, and finished with 20 points.
But the Nets couldn’t sustain the effort and execution that helped them build that nine-point lead. Over a 16-minute, 15-second stretch between the second and third periods, the Hornets outscored the Nets 39-14 and Chris Paul accounted for 25 of New Orleans’ points.
Paul was terrific, easily the best player on the floor and he made his teammates’ better.

And he wasn’t throwing the ball to David West and Tyson Chandler, who sat out with Hilton Armstrong due to injuries. Paul played big minutes with seldom-used players Julian Wright, Sean Marks and Melvin Ely. There were some season-highs to go around.
For the Nets it was another case of wasting an opportunity. They showed fight late to get within five down the stretch, but that span over the second and third and a couple of lapses in the fourth made their late run futile.
“What happened in the third quarter is I think frustration took over,” Frank said. “We missed some easy shots, got some fouls called against us. At times we didn’t take great shots. All that added up and there was frustration.
“I think we showed great fight in terms of getting back in there. We said enough’s enough. We’re really beating ourselves. Unfortunately, Paul made some huge plays late.”
Your best players do that, willing their team to victory even in games it looks like they should lose. The Nets may need Carter to do that in San Antonio on Friday and beyond, depending on Harris’ health.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)

Better late than never

carter_350.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Nets and their fans can get used to this. But not exactly how it happened Monday.
The Nets had to do it without Devin Harris in the second half, which they hope doesn’t become a common occurrence. The bottom line, though, is they got it done.
It was another come-from-behind victory. It was a first for this season. It was a 98-90 win over the Sacramento Kings that gave the Nets the first back-to-back home victories of this season.
“Yeah,” Jarvis Hayes said, “that’s a first, huh?”
Amazingly, it is. It took the Nets 19 games but they have a home winning streak. And think about what it took for the Nets to have a home winning streak.
They needed to come back from 20 down Friday against the Hawks and needed a Vince Carter 30-foot jumper at the buzzer in overtime to win the first game.
Last night, they needed to come back from 13 down, without Harris, and needed Yi Jianlian’s first 20-10 double-double in nearly two months to get the second one.
They also needed a stalwart second-half defensive performance to limit Kevin Martin, who embarrassed the Nets with 25 points in the first half.
The biggest things they should take out of this is that they can play this kind of defense, and Yi can have games like this. Forget that they’ve been few and far between, especially the Yi part.
But the Nets have to make sure they have another strong game Wednesday and do what they can to get Yi involved because it looks like they could be without Harris on Wednesday when Memphis comes to town, and they go for an unprecedented three wins in a row.
“We’ve just got to keep it going,” Hayes said. “Collectively, I think we’re playing better defensively. When you have off nights, defense will keep you in the game. On some nights, offense can go up and down, but if defense is consistent, you’ll be in almost all the games.
“We’ve played pretty good defense the last four or five games. We just got to keep up the intensity.”
The Nets have to try to make sure they don’t fall behind big again, though.
You can only come back from that so many times. If they wouldn’t have done so against the Kings, losers of 11 straight road games now, this would have been an awful defeat for the Nets, even if they didn’t have Harris after halftime.
They made sure it didn’t happen, though, by holding Martin to 11 points after halftime, and by limiting the Kings to 35 points in the second half – two fewer than Sacramento scored in the second period.
The Nets made sure it didn’t happen because Yi played big with 22 points and 13 rebounds, including some huge offensive boards. And because Carter was the perfect playmaker with 17 points and five assists in the second half. And because Josh Boone rebounded and defended, and Keyon Dooling defended and knocked down shots and because Trenton Hassell defended.
All of that went into this win against a team that fell to 8-27, which is why it would have been terrible if the Nets would have lost. But they battled and fought and everyone contributed in Harris’ absence. Now they have a home winning streak – two months after their first game here. You know what they say: better late than never.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)  

Road warriors to the rescue

harris250_122708.jpgCHARLOTTE — The Nets continued their reputation for being road warriors, and found a new way to win a close game away.
They didn’t rely on Vince Carter and Devin Harris late. The two made plays, of course. But it was the bench players that helped get the Nets over the top in a 114-103 overtime win over the Bobcats on Saturday night.
Eighteen points were scored in the extra session by the NBA’s third-best road team. The first 10 were by Josh Boone, Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling. Harris didn’t score at all and Carter tallied five of the last six to ice the Nets’ 10th road victory.
Yes, they have won 10 games on the road out of 14. They didn’t win their 10th last season until Feb. 1 — road game no. 22 — and wound up with 13. If the Nets ever figure out how to win at home … oh forget it. You know the deal and they know it, too and are tired of talking about it.
But the Nets definitely are a different team on the road, which they showed in the last 24 hours. This is the same team that got down by 15 to Charlotte at Izod Center on Friday before losing and then came to Charlotte and withstood what could have been devastating mistakes late.
The Nets were up eight and then stopped defending, giving up layup after layup after three-point play to Gerald Wallace. A bad play occurred after Emeka Okafor missed a foul shot and Wallace got the rebound away from Boone, scored and was fouled.
It became a four-point trip that would have loomed large had the Nets not won this game.
Then, late in regulation, after Hayes gave the Nets a 96-93 lead, rookie Brook Lopez fouled Raymond Felton as he was attempting a layup. He hit the shot and the free throw with 26.8 seconds left to tie the game, which went into overtime after Harris and Carter missed game-winning tries.
But the road warriors weren’t worried. They went into the huddle and coach Lawrence Frank drew up a play that worked perfectly — Boone set a screen and rolled as Carter fed him for a dunk. It was the start of a bench-driven overtime and the start of Boone redeeming himself.
Boone, who began the season as the Nets’ starting center, scored five in the overtime, including a rare free-throw make. He has now played big roles in the Nets’ last two road wins.
The third-year center finished with 12 points off the bench. Hayes had 14. Dooling scored nine and had six assists.
“They’re huge for us,” Harris said. “We’ve got veterans. They stepped up and played big for us. Keyon, Jarvis, they gave us a big lift. Don’t forget Josh, too.”
How could you?
It was a terrific effort by all the Nets, which is what they’re going to need moving forward because they can’t count on Carter and Harris to do everything.
They played well, rebounding from shooting 12-of-36 combined and totaling 33 points Friday by knocking down 17-of-30 shots and scoring 54 points on Saturday night.
They also made plays late as Harris came up with some huge hustle plays, including two overtime steals, and Carter passed well and got to the line.

But it was the bench play in overtime and the Nets’ overall resilience which helped them continue their reputation for being road warriors. If they ever figure out how to win at home … nevermind. Let’s save that for another day. They play at home on Monday.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).

Tough night for Carter means big loss for Nets


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Flashback to three weeks ago when the Nets were in
Toronto and
vitriol and hate were raining down on Vince Carter. Calm and collected, Carter
made every one of those angry Toronto fans spit fire with one of the best
performances of his career.
Last night, Carter had his worst.
Some Raptors’ fans will debate that and probably can point to a
few games, particularly Games 4 and 6 against the Cavaliers in the 2007
playoffs. But statistically, this was the worst full game of Carter’s
Carter couldn’t hit a shot. This isn’t an exaggeration, or play on words.
He couldn’t. Didn’t. None. He missed all 13 of his field-goal tries in an
embarrassing 101-79 loss to his old team at Izod Center.
How bad was it?As if 0-for-13 doesn’t tell the story, his three points
matched his Net low. And it’s the first time he’s played at least 10 minutes
that he didn’t make a basket. That’s why it’s the worst shooting night of his
Twice he’s gone scoreless, but he played three and four minutes in those
games due to injury. So this was the worst shooting night of his 11-year
Vince’s thoughts?
My guess is he’s not happy. Who would be? But I can’t say for sure
because as far as any of us can remember it was the first time in Carter’s Nets’
career that he skipped out before talking to the media. Jason Kidd would do that
a few times a year, but never Carter so that tells you how disgusted he was. It
definitely had to be worse for him that it happened against Toronto.
This is going to make for an interesting game North of the Border on
Monday. If Toronto fans are smart they won’t say a word or
may be wise to cheer Carter. Their ire seems to get hi m up.
Overall, though, this was an awful performance by the home team. It
wasn’t just Carter that damaged the rims, backboards, shooting percentages and
scoring averages. It was everyone.
The Nets had their worst shooting night of the season – 26-of-83 (31.3
percent) – and lowest output. Take Carter out of the equation, and the Nets
still only score 76 points and their shooting goes up to 37.1 percent.
You’re not going to win too often with those numbers. It’s little wonder
the Raptors led this game by 31. The surprise was that it was a game with 21
minutes left and the Nets shooting 16-for-51 at the time.
“Everybody goes through rough nights and this was a tough night for
him,” said Josh Boone, who shot a sizzling 2-for-2. “But it was a rough night
for the team.
“They took away the middle from us and we weren’t making shots. That’s
what it came down to: we weren’t making shots. They were getting run outs,
fast-break points easy transition baskets.”
Carter got none of that. He got a free throw at 8:21 that was met with a
loud sarcastic ovation. In Canada, they probably were booing and
then laughing and then wishing they could be here.
In a few days they’ll get a chance to express to Carter how they feel.
You know what they’re hoping for on that night – for a repeat of this night. But
Carter probably will want a repeat of three weeks ago. He’s probably hopin
g for
the boos and chants.

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