Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nets 102, Raptors 81 (Game 4)

-Basically could just rehash the Game 3 recap. Eerily similar to Game 3. Vince once again comes out aggressive early & threw up 15 pts in the 1st quarter. And the Nets were steamrolling again and the Raps never got within single-digits after the 1st quarter.

-Kidd was a force tonite (17,13 assts & 8 rbs), and has been one of the best playoff performers so far. Like how he is looking for his points more and it paid off tonite from the outside--5/6 from 3pt. Had a couple of sweet alley-oop feeds to Vince. Vince had another great game at home with 27, 7 rbs, 7 assts, and 5/8 from 3pt. When he attacks early, it helps set up better looks from outside & allows him to use his underrated passing ability.

-The Nets' offense the last 2 games has looked as good as I've seen all year. And I think it can directly be correlated to Vince's aggressiveness. The one major issue I saw about this year's Nets, is they couldn't string a total 48 minutes of consistent offense together. They would play well for a quarter, a half, but then would bog down in the other half. Especially had problems executing in the 4th quarter, something that killed them last year vs. the Heat. Another thing that is an underrated factor, is their improved 3pt. shooting this year--they were 14/27 today, pushing them to 37% for the series. A big reason for the 3pt.% increase is because the emergence of Boci Nachbar. Nachbar continued his strong play with 11 pts, 3/4 from 3pt.

- One underrated factor in this series is the Nets' defense. They have held the Raps to roughly 42% for the series, and have not allowed the Raps to shoot above 44% once. They have collapsed around the painted area, daring the Raps' PGs to shoot, and this sagging allows for easier help on Bosh. Also, the highly underappreciated defensive play of Jason Collins has been huge vs. Bosh. I think the one thing that has been always overlooked about the circa 2000s Nets, is they have always had a good defensive team going back to the days of Bryon Scott. Though they did dip into the middle-o-pack this year, but they are still capable of being very good.

- Really nothing positive to say about the Raptors' Game 4 performance. For the second game in a row, the Raps' offense looked lost. Some of this definitely has to be blamed on poor outside shooting--the Raps are shooting 29% from 3pt for the series. This encourages the Nets to keep on sagging, which chokes off opportunities for Ford & Bosh. And even when Bosh has room to operate he still seems to be tentative on his moves.

-Been very unimpressed with the Raps' effort on the defensive end as well. Just too many missed assignments, bad communication, and sloppy on help rotations; I mentioned in my preview they would miss Garbajosa's presence, and he would help cut down on some of these aforementioned team defensive problems.

- The Raps have to find someway to free Bosh from all the defensive pressure. I thought starting Bargnani tonite was a good move, so to spread the floor more, but it really had no effect. Not really sure what they can do besides trying to hit their outside shots, which would in turn open the floor for both Bosh & Ford. For the Nets, just tell Vince to keep on drivin.

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