The Nets would have had to play near-perfect, would have had to shut down Amare Stoudemire, Jason Kidd would have had to match Steve Nash and Vince Carter would have had to look like Carter from 2005 or 2006 if they were to have any chance of ending the Suns' 13-year hex over them in Phoenix.
None happened and as a result the Nets were embarrassed 116-92 last night in Phoenix.
You knew this would be a tough one, especially after the overtime loss to the Clippers to start the trip Saturday. But what struck us from our comfy couch - we’re not there yet as we will meet them later on the trip – was how the Nets were outhustled and outworked.
The offensive rebounds, the run outs, the late rotations on threes – every aspect that requires hustle and work the Nets didn’t meet the Suns. Good teams make those plays and the Nets, as we all know, are not a good team.
They were getting there a few weeks ago, but they’ve definitely taken steps backward. The clincher for me was the fourth quarter.
For those not glued to the Giants game, the Suns were up 17 and Stoudemire and Shawn Marion were all over the offensive boards. Where were the Nets?
Some of you will say it’s because coach Lawrence Frank went with a smaller lineup. No matter, the Nets have to box out and get those rebounds, or at least try for them. Didn’t see enough of that.
The numbers tell the story – 17-5 on the offensive boards. Yes, the Suns took more shots and as a result missed more shots, but they went after it. They went to the boards. They beat the Nets where it counted.
We’re not going to bury Vince here because you guys do plenty of that, but they need more than 10 points from him, more than 13 shots, more than four in the second half.
You can understand why the Nets are fielding/making offers - and not just for Carter. They have to continue to listen/be proactive because this can’t continue without some faces changing places. We said this earlier in the season, but there was time still to turn things around.
After the Kings’ game Tuesday, the Nets are at the midpoint and will be either 19-22 or 18-23. They were supposed to be better, much better.
It can’t continue much longer, especially if they’re being outworked and not playing with the requisite passion and energy. Frank deserves some blame for that, but the Nets' overall play lately is an indictment on everyone.