Second Half Woes Pile Up

So what started out as a three game road trip against what I like to call “Neighbouring Teams” has come full cycle, and we returned home Wednesday for part deux against the Nets. Before we get into what occurred at the Q, just a quick little run down of what was a satisfying win over the Nets Tuesday night.

  • Mo was 1-12, from the charity stripe we were 12-22, we had only 4 points on the break and still got the W. Colour me happy…
  • As I said many a time on Twitter during the game…BBOOOOOBBIIEEEEE
  • JJ Hickson showed his resolve by notching his first double-double with 18 and 10, outshining Nets center and All Star candidate Brooke Lopez who finished with 16 and 8.
  • Living and dying by your three point shooting is risky, just ask Orlando, but we had it going Tuesday finishing 9-17 from beyond, as opposed to the Nets 6-20 effort
  • How high on the “Scale of Awesomeness” (I just made that scale up by the way) do we rank AP’s high arcing three that was just incredibly beautiful on around 19 different levels? I’m going with a 9. A 10 on my “Scale of Awesomeness” is discovering you’re actually Justin Bieber’s Father.
  • Our bench was incredible…just fantastic. 52 points is breathtaking, by any standards. However, I’d still have Joey Graham in the rotation…at least a little bit right? I know Kirk agrees.
  • With a record of 3-1 on the road, only Atlanta has won more road games than our Cavs, and they’ve played one game more than us.

I Tweeted last after Tuesday’s game that the victory on the road against the Nets would mean nothing if we didn’t get the second half of our job done at the Q. And we didn’t, which is particularly bemusing when you take the following into account;

  • We were at home – where we are pretty good – and up 11 in the third
  • Our bench was at it again, more than doubling that of what New Jersey’s bench tallied
  • They missed 16 free throws

Yet we still couldn’t finish is out. We weren’t in trouble by any means in the third, and just out of nowhere we threw up brick after brick. Bad possession after another, sloppy defense set in and we couldn’t even get points when all he (Jamario) had to so was dribble to a gaping basket. It was frustrating, especially when you see we’re 3-1 on the road and 1-3 at home. After beating Boston at home, I personally felt that Sacramento and New Jersey were W’s just waiting to happen.

I know the Nets starting Backcourt went off like crazy, I know we lost Mo for a stretch where he was needed, but I still can’t put my finger on a decent reason we lost this other than complacency. Our two biggest threats from the perimeter are Boobie and Mo, they combined for 14 points on 6-21 shooting. The Nets backcourt combo of Morrow and Harris scorched us to the tune of 52. Maybe there in lies the reason we lost, but when their best player (Lopez) plays limited minutes due to foul trouble, you’d of thought that we as a whole and Coach Scott as a coach would have gotten the message clear and simple – hit the paint and hit it again after that. We should have attacked the rim every time down; instead we fell in love with our three point shooting that didn’t exist for us (3-12). I’m not one to overreact, it takes a lot to get me going but last night I was pretty pissed at our Cavaliers, that should have been a close out win after the third quarter. We should have seen JJ, Mo, Andy and Boobie sitting down cheering on our reserves in the fourth, but no, we had to make it hard for ourselves and fell into a hole we couldn’t climb out of. The NBA’s worst 3rd quarter team – actual fact – got worse last night with 17 points, and with only 18 in the 4th, how do you expect to win matches? Would I say this loss is worrying? To an extent it is, but what really worries me and should worry you all is this second half thing we’ve got going on. If we didn’t suck in the third, eve if our output in all our losses this season in the third was 15% better, we’d probably be 6-2 right about now. That’s not me being idealistic, that’s me being realistic. Last night and against Sacramento the two main cases I implore you to examine. Next up is a home game against the Pacers, them of the 20-21 shooting quarter the other night.

Oh yeah, that also happened to be in the third quarter…just saying.

Rookie Report

John Wall – The kid out of Kentucky messed around and got himself a triple-double last night against the Rockets, condemning their early season woes. He became the third youngest player in league history to do so, behind only LeDouchebag and Lamar Odom. What really impressed me the last few games with Wall though is just how natural it looks. He doesn’t even look like he’s sprinting when he’s blowing by an entire team, effortless class. One downside though, through 6 games he’s racked up 30 turnovers. I know, I had to pick one flaw though?

DeMarcus Cousins – The last three games have not been kind to Cousins, getting fewer minutes and as a result his production has dropped. He’s now backing up Dalembert off the bench in Sacramento, a move I support but wouldn’t persist with for an entire season. This kid is special; let him work out the kinks. In 21 minutes, he’s posting averages of 11 points and 6 boards, not bad for a rookie big.

Blake Griffin – Seems that with LA’s fortunes so goes Griffins. On a four game skid right now, Griffins numbers tell the tale – 26 points, 16 points, 10 points and 11 points last night against the Spurs. In that game, he shot 5-18 and only attempted 2 FT’s. Not what you want to be seeing from your star player against opponents of that caliber. Still though, his season averages of 16 and 10 are pretty impressive.

Greg Monroe – I’m a little worried when my 6’11″ forward/center has the same number of steals as he does blocked shots – 1. Monroe is finding it hard adjusting to NBA life, but you can see the ability is clearly there. I just wish Golden State had taken him one spot earlier; he would have been perfect for them.

James Anderson – He’s shooting 47% from three-point range, but outside of that there isn’t much to write home about. A rookie will always struggle for stats playing alongside Duncan, Parker, Ginobli and Jefferson, but he’s getting regular minutes with a genuine contender, so good for him.

Before I Go…

Utah just best Miami and Orlando on a back-to-back, on the road, having been down BIG in both games. Just a hunch, but I don’t think any team will do that again, this decade. Ok I joke with that last part, but this season you’ll be hard pressed to find a more impressive back-to-back effort

Atlanta are now 0-3 since starting 6-0, how the mighty have fallen right?

All hail Joakim Noah, king of insults. When asked how he feels about KG, he quipped, “He’s a very mean guy” and “Ugly too”. Way to hurt a guys feelings Noah, who by the way was just voted the NBA’s best looking player…in a Sideshow Bob competition.

Michael Beasley with a Monta Ellis-like night of 42 points on 17-31 shooting. I say good for him, he’s in a position to be the man in Minnesota (though for me Kevin Love is the star there) and he seems to have realised it, kinda sorta in a way.

Contact me on dol-17@hotmail.com for the Stepien Rules mailbag, Twitter @DOL17 or Facebook.

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