Last night we lost a game we should have won. The Nets came in on a 6 game losing streak. They were tired from a West coast swing, from playing the night before and flying into Boston on game day. All that should have added up to a win. It appeared that we were on our way to one with a 15 point lead and playing well for the first 3 quarters.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the end of the game, we stopped thinking and we stopped playing aggressively. People can talk all they want about us being a young team, but it wasn't the kids who lost last night's game. It was the coach and the vets who lost it. Pierce taking a ridiculous 3 with 2 Nets in his face. Doc telling the team we don't need a 3 with 17 seconds left in the game and down 3. Wally getting the ball behind the 3 point line, down 3, with just seconds to go and dribbling toward the basket. West playing point guard and slowing the tempo to where the Nets caught their breath and were able to come back. Doc putting Perk and Al on the court when we needed a 3 giving the Nets a chance to double team our 2 players expected to take the 3. Why wasn't Green on the court? Or even Scal who already hit 2 3's in the quarter.
As for our youth, they performed very well. Gomes once again does whatever it takes to win the game. He finished with 5 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Telfair played very well with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal. He ran the team very well, driving and kicking out to the open man. Al had a great game last night, showing off the post moves that we have been waiting to see. He finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Perk was hampered by his painful foot and clearly wasn't moving well but he finished with 3 rebounds and 5 blocks. Green played very good defense and finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks. No, the kids weren't the problem.
We finished the game with 14 turn overs. It wasn't our youth there, either. Wally had 4, Pierce had 3 and Scal had 1. So of 14 turn overs, our veterans had 8 of them. That left 6 split between the rest of the young players on the team. It isn't just this game either, because Pierce and Wally lead the team in turnovers. These usually happen when they try to force things and do too much instead of trusting their young teammates who so far have proved to be fairly trustworthy.
Doc is not improving. His decision to sit Rondo is not a good one. Rondo needs to play. He brings defensive intensity we need, he brings energy we need, and he can push the tempo in the game, which we need since we are very short on big men. Rondo should have played last night. If we had continued to push the tempo last night and took the ball to the basket instead of falling into a half court, I don't believe we would have let the Nets come back. Also, with a shortage of big men, why is Powe sitting on the bench? When he got a chance to play, he proved that he can play. He changed the pace of the game with his energy and defense and continually got inside position for rebounds and put backs. So why isn't Doc playing him? With Perk saying that he expects to sit out a few games, Doc should play him, but that doesn't mean he will.
It was good news and bad news last night. We played our best basketball for 3 quarters. Then we let up and allowed the Nets to erase the lead and win the game. Our young players showed some good things out there. Al, Telfair, Gomes and Green all played very well. Perk even played good considering the pain that he was in and that was limiting his mobility. But the failure to execute at the end was on Doc and our two "stars."