Tagged: Keyon Dooling

Douglas-Roberts on a fighting mission

douglasroberts_300_102009.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Chris Douglas-Roberts is like that hungry-slash-angry defensive back – he’s not big enough to be a linebacker – who can’t wait until the regular-season starts so he can hit somebody.

Wrong sport, we know, but that’s how Douglas-Roberts acts and talks – and he’s always talking.

The good-natured Nets’ swingman said he would like to see more hitting in practice, more fights. He thinks the team will get closer, tougher and going at it in practice will make the Nets better.

“Last year was my first time ever being on a team that was under .500,” Douglas-Roberts said. “I’ll do anything to try and change that. Whether it’s being more vocal in practice, whatever it has to be. I’ll do anything to change that and mainly trying to make us a tougher team. We need more fights in practice. We need more hard fouls. That makes a tough team.”

This attitude is one of the reasons the Nets think Douglas-Roberts is going to have a breakout year and be in the NBA for a long time. He hates losing. Who doesn’t? Right. But Douglas-Roberts really hates losing, wants to do something about it and has done something about it.

He spent the offseason improving his game and gaining more confidence, which isn’t easy for the secure – and we’re putting it nicely – Douglas-Roberts. He can’t wait to show what he’s got and believes he can help the Nets be better than expected.

Nets coach Lawrence Frank said in-practice fighting isn’t the answer, but loves the passion Douglas-Roberts plays with at all times. The Nets hope it rubs off on other players and can carry it over agianst the opposition.

“The thing is this: the competitiveness,” Frank said. “Like in football, they don’t necessarily encourage fights in practice but go fight the other team.

“One of the greatest competitors I’ve ever been around is Jason Kidd. Now he never got into a fight in practice. My thing is have some fight in you. It doesn’t literally have to be Sonny Liston, but have some fight in your approach.

“I like Chris’ competitiveness. I like his approach. I like his fire. I like that.”

It has gotten Douglas-Roberts in trouble in the past though. Last year, assistant coach Doug Overton screamed at Douglas-Roberts at the end of a practice last year.
 
Douglas-Roberts was upset that in this post-practice game he wasn’t getting any foul calls because he was a rookie. He kept talking and it incited Overton. Cooler hears prevailed, but that’s Douglas-Roberts. And there were several members of the organization who said something to the effect of if all of last year’s Nets had CDR’s competitive fire.

It helps now that Douglas-Roberts is a big part of the rotation, the expected starting small forward for the Oct. 28 opener.

“Every day he comes ready to practice,” Frank said. “He brings juice to the gym. He brings energy.”

The Nets are going to need everyone to bring that “fight” into the games.
 

_______________________

No Devin Harris (groin), Jarvis Hayes (stress reaction, right shin) or Keyon Dooling (hip surgery) for tomorrow’s sixth preseason game against the Knicks. Harris and Hayes hope to play in Friday’s final preseason game against the Sixers.

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

 

Prokhorov looming, but business as usual for Nets

prokhorov_250_100109.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A little more than a week has passed since Mikhail Prokhorov signed off to buy 80 percent of the Nets and help Bruce Ratner finance the building of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But the Russian billionaire’s influence hasn’t been seen or felt yet.

The only outward change at the Nets’ practice facility is PNY Center appears everywhere, but it doesn’t stand for “Prokhorov Never Yields.” It’s for the Parsippany-based flash-drive maker that bought the naming rights for the practice facility before Prokhorov agreed to purchase the Nets.

The truth is it probably will be some time before Prokhorov’s fingerprints are on the team and organization. He doesn’t officially own the team.

First, the league needs to do background checks on Prokhorov, which it already has started. It should be extensive since little is known about this man. If you talk to anyone within the Nets or other NBA circles most of the information they have on Prokhorov comes from a Google search and a click on Wikipedia.

Then the Board of Governors has to approve the sale. They’re meeting later this month and it’s possible Prokhorov will be there. If so he probably will check out the facility and meet some of his potential employees.

But the sale is contingent upon the Nets going to Brooklyn, so Ratner has to win another court appeal later this month. It won’t be surprising if Brooklyn project “Develop Don’t Destroy” tries to put up more resistance.

If everything goes well it’s expected Prokhorov will be in charge in early 2010. They won’t wait until Brooklyn is built because that’s at least another 26 months from the time a shovel is put in the ground.

From Google and Wikipedia and other stories written about Prokhorov you know he’s a metals magnate and is close with Russian president Vladimir Putin. When Prokhorov owned CSKA Moscow the Russian power won two European titles. If/when the sale goes through he wants to use this to help develop Russian basketball using NBA practices and techniques, and plans to place the country’s leading coaches and managers here.

That may not bode well for Nets’ president Rod Thorn, GM Kiki Vandeweghe and coach Lawrence Frank. All are in the last year of their contracts.

You also can gather Prokhorov is a playboy, a man who lives a lavish lifestyle and goes after and gets what he wants. Hey, if your riches were the $9.5 billion Forbes reported you would travel, have multiple homes and live it up too.

Last week, Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) sent a letter to NBA commissioner David Stern urging him to “thoroughly investigate” Prokhorov. In the letter, Pascrell wrote, “Mr. Prokhorov’s background raises questions about his fitness to be the owner of a high-profile NBA franchise. Both Mr. Prokhorov’s business and personal history have come under intense scrutiny in his home country and abroad.”

One major thing hanging over his head and that has been brought up since the sale was Prokhorov’s arrest in 2007 for allegedly arranging prostitutes for guests at a Christmas party in France. Prokhorov wasn’t convicted though, and earlier this week was cleared of all charges and the case was dismissed. This could help him when the NBA investigates his past.

Right now and for the time being it has no effect on the Nets. They’re operating business as usual. Frank is preparing them for this season, stressing defense and trying to get everyone to buy in to how if everyone commits this could be an unexpectedly positive season.

“I don’t think it affects us as far as how we go about our daily business as far as what we have to do in between the lines,” veteran guard Keyon Dooling said.

The Nets haven’t been told to sell off assets or go out and get the best players yet. Team officials are planning to maintain the flexibility they’ve created for the summer of 2010. It’s believed that flexibility and potential to sign new players is one of the things that made the Nets attractive to Prokhorov.

He’s a sportsman, a former basketball player who stands 6-foot-9. He likes winning and will spend to win from everything we’ve read.

“From a resource perspective,” Dooling said, “he has the resources to turn this organization from the bottom of the pack to really being able to dish out some dough.”

Ratner originally wouldn’t and the Nets were forced to trade Kenyon Martin in 2004, then would and they were able to trade for Vince Carter. Then Ratner wouldn’t again because of all the monetary losses and he knew he would eventually have to sell. 

So the Nets are in this position where little is expected of them this year. But the belief is Prokhorov will be a Mark Cuban-type owner and will pay to improve his team. That is, if/when Prokhorov clears all the necessary hurdles.

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

Nets open camp eager to overachieve

harris_250_092909.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Training camp began Tuesday with Vince Carter in Orlando, Jason Kidd in Dallas and Richard Jefferson in San Antonio. At the Nets’ practice facility there are some banners and coaches who represent some good old days, but little else.

Hanging at the reception desk inside the PNY Center are a Devin Harris jersey, a Lawrence Frank photo and a Yi Jianlian uniform. It once was Kidd, Carter and Jefferson.

The photos lining the hallways on the way to the gym feature Sean Williams, Josh Boone, Yi and Keyon Dooling. Guess who once was there.

It has been this way for some time here, especially after Carter was traded to Orlando in June, but with camp opening a new era in Nets’ basketball officially began today. Last year was supposed to be a new era, but this truly is, until next year when new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov – provided the sale goes through – tries to throw around his millions to secure some of the best players money can buy.

By then the overall feeling of the Nets may be different. They are in good position for the future, but not for this year unless everything falls perfectly for them. They have a good young nucleus, and if everything works out, the makings of a Big Three that actually includes a big.

Harris, an All-Star guard last year, Carter’s replacement Courtney Lee and second-year center Brook Lopez make up what could be the cornerstones going forward. As of now, they’re the Big Three the Nets are counting on to improve the team and the chances of attracting LeBron James or another marquee name or names when July 1 hits.

“The funny thing is we help ourselves more by doing better,” Harris said after the first practice. “We attract free agents. If we do better as a team right now we attract more of those guys. So we keep ourselves more in the present because it will help us in the future.”

The Nets could surprise this year. You really don’t know. Chemistry, health, player improvement and perhaps most important for this group, a commitment to defense should determine the type of season the Nets have.

Right from the beginning, all Frank stressed was defense. He didn’t even want to talk about offense, saying he’s not putting in any offensive plays.

Now, we know that’s not true because you have to let the players express themselves freely on the fun end if you want them to get dirty on the workman’s end. But you get the point that Frank is trying to convey.

The Nets are winning with their defense, and rightfully so. As constituted they don’t have the makeup of a team that will outscore many if any teams. Harris is their lone 20-point scorer. No one else on the roster has averaged more than 16 points in a season and Bobby Simmons did it in the 2004-05 season.

If those numbers weren’t enough, these will tell why the Nets have to defend to have a chance to win: three players have averaged more than 10 points twice or more in their careers. Two have done it once and 10 have never averaged at least 10 points.

So it has to start on the defensive end and if guys like Lee and Terrence Williams lead up to their billing as stopper,s and Harris lifts his on-the-ball game, this could be an exciting team. They have athletes that can run and get up and down the floor in Harris, Lee, Williams, Sean Williams and Yi.

“I think our guys want to win,” Frank said. “You don’t have to be the brightest person in the world to figure out, regardless of sports, all winning teams defend. It’s a commitment. It’s an every day commitment. It’s about building habits. It’s everyone buying.”

Buying in and commitment are words often used in coach-speak, but in this case it’s more than that. It’s the truth.

_______________________

Other then the importance of defense, the thing most often talked about today was how the Nets want to show they’re going to be better than expected.

“All the pundits say we’re going to be very bad,” Dooling said. “It would be nice to go out and prove everybody wrong.”

“That’s going to motivate us, knowing that we’re picked last,” Lee said. “That will definitely put a chip on our shoulders and motivate us to come in here and work hard and make sure we play for each other so we can bond and go out there and play to the best of our abilities.”

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

Thorn: Frank is still our guy

frank_250_042909.jpgNets president Rod Thorn said he had been formulating his opinion for about a week. Ultimately, the reason he decided to give Lawrence Frank a chance to finish out his contract as coach is because he believes in him.
 
“In my mind, he’s a good coach,” Thorn said this morning. “If you get rid of a good coach you’ve got to get a good coach. In my mind he’s a good coach. He’s done a good job here.
 
“This past year we weren’t expected to do very well. We ended up doing better than most people expected us to do. Our younger players got better for the most part. My feeling is we’re on the right road.”
 
And with that ended more than a week of speculation and conjecture of what Thorn would do, who would replace Frank and whether the players still are listening to him. Now it’s on to making sure the Nets improve on the basketball floor so Frank can keep his job.
 
Bringing back Frank for next season may not be a popular decision with the fans, but it makes sense on so many levels.
 
First of all, Nets’ ownership lost more than $25 million according to Sports Business Journal last year. The team has had a few rounds of layoffs and is sharing a summer league team with the Sixers to split the expenses.
 
All of that said, eating Frank’s $4.5 million salary wouldn’t be smart.
 
Secondly, the Nets didn’t underachieve like some teams. They may have overachieved – although it’s hard to say 34 wins is a good thing – when you consider what they were predicted to do this past season.
 
Additionally, Devin Harris improved. Brook Lopez was better than expected. The same can be said for Keyon Dooling, Jarvis Hayes and Ryan Anderson.
 
Frank certainly had more positives than negatives this past season. The biggest minus was the Nets’ record, but he basically had a pass for that when in preseason Thorn and GM Kiki Vandeweghe said the development of the players were what mattered.
 
Some in the organization were unhappy that the plan shifted when the Nets were in the playoff race and they played veterans because they were trying to win games. But the players – except for Yi Jianlian – got better or played better than anticipated. Besides, playing to win is the most important thing. You want to teach the players how to win and what it takes. That should always be the plan. It will be next year when Frank knows he has to win to keep his job.
 
Even if he does, there’s no guarantee the Nets will extend him or give him a new deal after the season. So much depends on what happens this summer, who comes in via the draft, free agency and trades, and how the young players continue to develop.

There are other factors, too, like whether the Nets are on track for Brooklyn, whether Bruce Ratner still owns the team and if there is a marquee coach available next summer that could make a big difference.
 
As for 2009-10, Thorn isn’t concerned about having a coach in the final year of his contract on the bench. He thinks the players will listen to Frank and continue to play hard for him. They did for most of this past season, but at times they could have and should have given a little more. Had they given more effort defensively and executed better down the stretch of games they might have been in the playoffs now, might have been playing the roles of the Bulls or Sixers, who are giving the Celtics and Magic fits, respectively.
 
You can blame some of those things on the coach, of course. But the players also share in that. They have to work a little harder defensively, have to be smarter with the ball late in games or take better shots.
 
These are the things the Nets will have to do better next season because they’re healthy and because they will hear the same voice and likely will play a similar style. Maybe the Nets will go to Lopez more – at least they should. But all of that will depend upon what personnel changes the Nets make.
 
That’s what Thorn has to turn his attention to now that he has decided his coach will be back and that his voice still is being heard.
 
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)

The future of these Nets

dooling250_041709.jpgThe season ended Wednesday. The players have had their exit interviews. The Nets will have meetings early next week to discuss numerous things, including the future of coach Lawrence Frank.
 
Here’s a look at the future of all the Nets gathered from a combination of sources, educated opinion, speculation and conversations with my 2 -year-old son.
 
Lawrence Frank: The Nets’ NBA leader in wins achieved most of what management wanted, except for developing Yi Jianlian. But, we don’t blame Frank for that. Yi got hurt and you know the rest of the story. Frank did a good job. But, the questions Rod Thorn will ask himself is can someone get more out of this team, are the players still listening, can he come back with one year left on his deal and expect the players to run through walls for him. The owner endorsed Frank if that means anything.
Odds of returning: 50 percent
 
Brook Lopez: The Rookie of the Year candidate hasn’t scratched the surface of his potential. The Nets see the center as a franchise centerpiece, especially if he continues to develop.
Odds of returning: 99.9 percent
 
Jarvis Hayes: The Nets will pick up the $2 million option on his contract for next season and gladly call him their sixth man again.
Odds of returning: 90 percent
 
Devin Harris: The first-time All-Star was great most of the season but didn’t commit to defense. The Nets like what they see from Jason Kidd’s replacement and won’t move the person they dealt their franchise player for unless they have a shot at Blake Griffin or another potential franchise-type of player.
Odds of returning: 85 percent
 
Keyon Dooling: The ball moved better with him, and he’s the kind of instant energy player every team loves and the Nets of recent years have lacked. He should be back.
Odds of returning: 80 percent
 
Vince Carter: You’re not going to find many players who can produce the way he can and who makes his teammates better like he does. Money will be a factor both ways. The Nets would like to shed some payroll, but it’s going to be tough to find teams that will take back his $33.6 million salary over the next two years.
Odds of returning: 75 percent
 
Chris Douglas-Roberts: Showed great potential at the end of the season that made some question why the rookie swingman didn’t play sooner. The Nets would like to see how he progresses. He’s already one of their most competitive guys, a trait they wish more had.
Odds of returning: 75 percent
 
Ryan Anderson: The Nets like him and what he can become, but other teams like Anderson too. He could sweeten any potential trade.
Odds of returning: 70 percent
 
Yi Jianlian: The Nets already gave up too soon on a 20-something 7-footer (Nenad Krstic) in part of because of Yi. That was a mistake. But, they should make some calls. Not sure what the interest level is. The Nets would like an upgrade at power forward.
Odds of returning: 65 percent
 
Eduardo Najera: The Nets’ oldest player played only 27 games due to injury. Teams could be scared away by his age, 33, his health and his contract (three years, $8.5 million).
Odds of returning: 60 percent
 
Bobby Simmons: Improved as the season went on and is entering the final year of his deal at $11.24 million. It’s a lot for a role player, but he could value if not now then by the trade deadline. The Nets would like an upgrade at small forward.
Odds of returning: 60 percent
 
Trenton Hassell: Won’t opt out of the $4.35 million due him next season because he won’t sniff close to that if he does. It’s a lot of money for a role player, but better than Simmons’ deal and he’s a better defender. It’s the type of contract that could be used to make a deal work.
Odds of returning: 50 percent
 
Josh Boone: Serviceable big man has a manageable contract — $2 million next season; qualifying offer slightly less than $3 million the year after. He should have value but needs a fire lit under him.
Odds of returning: 25 percent
 
Sean Williams: Everyone knows he’s a terrific athlete and shot blocker, but his off-court troubles spoiled what could have been an I’ll-show-you season. If the Nets can’t move him, they always could buy him out.
Odds of returning: 20 percent
 
Maurice Ager: The only free agent on the roster can begin looking for a job, if he wants.
Odds of returning: 0 percent
 
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).

Wrapping up and moving forward

hayes250_041609.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rod Thorn, Kiki Vandeweghe and Lawrence Frank sat together with each Nets’ player and performed the annual exit interviews where they discussed what they did well, what they need to work on and some type of summer plan.
 
If I was running the Nets, here’s what I would say to each player and the coach in that setting:
 
Vince Carter: Get some rest because you’re still a high-level player and we want you to be fresh next season and continue to be an exemplary leader. You helped our young players so much this season. Thank you. You will hear your name in trade rumors, but unless you get a call from us don’t worry about it.
 
Devin Harris: Great season, but we’re going to expect more next year. Defensively, you have to raise your game because since you’ve been here you have not lived up to your rep of being a good on-ball defender. You have to realize we need you to do more than score for us to win. You have to defend better, set up your teammates more and take care of the ball late in games.
 
Brook Lopez: You grew up more than any player, and we think you’re only going to get better. Get stronger up top, but lower body, also. Here’s some tape on Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Watch them and go watch some playoff games. Pick up things from them and we’ll start working on it in a month or so because eventually you’re going to be our go-to player.
 
Ryan Anderson: You showed great maturity and professionalism to go from out of the rotation to starting to out to starting, and were productive. We like the way you go to the boards. We’re going to try and work on your lateral quickness and defense. Here is some tape and some things for you to try, and we’ll see you in back in the gym in a month or so.
 
Keyon Dooling: After you clean up your hip get a little rest because you logged more minutes than ever before and depending on what we do next season you could have an increased role. But, we liked the energy, leadership and professionalism you brought to each game and welcome that next season.
 
Jarvis Hayes: I wouldn’t worry about your $2 million option. You’re safe. We’ve been waiting for a good shooter and capable perimeter defender for years and we have that now. Let your thumb heal, spend some time with your new son, and come back thinking Sixth Man Award candidate.
 
Chris Douglas-Roberts: We love your competitive nature. We need more players who hate losing like you do and will do whatever it takes to win. Keep working on your ball-handling, shooting and defense because you will have an expanded role next season.
 
Yi Jianlian: You weren’t the same player after returning from your broken right pinkie. You can’t hesitate when you shoot and you can’t lose confidence. When you’re not hitting shots you still can rebound and defend. You need to improve everywhere and the only way is by playing. So, when you’re not with your national team, get in a gym and play pick-up games, go to Vegas and play, come here and play. You just need to play.
 
Josh Boone: We thought Brook taking your starting job would have inspired you to work harder and improve. It didn’t. Same with Sean Williams taking your back-up role for a stretch. We need to figure out what’s going to light a fire under you, if anything, because you have potential. You should be instant energy the moment you get in the game.
 
Bobby Simmons: We appreciate your professionalism and willingness to play out of position at power forward. We’re going to continue to look to upgrade the small forward spot. Come into camp in better shape because we need you to be better defensively.
 
Trenton Hassell: We appreciate your professionalism and defense. If only you could consistently knock down shots because you were open so often. Next year, if you’re here, we’ll probably use you more in a specialist capacity, as in when we need to shut down people. But, work on your jump shot so we can give you the ball more often.
 
Eduardo Najera: Eddie, is it? Nice to see you. It’s been awhile. We could have used your defense, energy and toughness. Come back healthy, and we’ll see if you can help us next season.
 
Sean Williams: We’re running out of patience and you’re running out of time. You could help us if only you keep your head in the game and on your job. We’re not sure you will. Prove us wrong, if you’re still here.
 
Maurice Ager: Thanks for being a good practice player. Do you know any Spanish or Italian? How about the U.S. to Euro conversion rate? You may want to become familiar with those things.
 
Lawrence Frank: I never tell you who to play, but I wouldn’t have gone with Yi or Hassell as long as you did. And it’s not your fault for Yi. Anyway, you did a good job with this group. But you should sit down a little more and not scream all the time for guys to “Go,” and other things. Let them play, especially when you have mostly veterans on the floor. The veterans will appreciate that and probably respond better.
 
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).

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:
 
MVP

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.)