Game Notes: Celtics at Nets
Welcome to Newark City!
Getting to the Izod Center is not easy. For a place less than 15-miles from my crib, there’s no reason that it should take an hour-plus to get there. Bus. Train. Cab. Bike. It doesn’t matter. Getting to that swamp ain’t easy. And it’s not just me; place is just not conveniently located. Thankfully the Nets have been so-so at best the last few years, eliminating the need for me to go.
Soon the Nets (or Nyets) will be moving to Brooklyn—or so they say. Many people, Ben included, have pushed for a more realistic move to Newark.
Tonight, Ben and that “many” had their wish granted, as the Nets met up with the Celtics at the Prudential Center, the New Jersey Devils arena.
Here’s how the first NBA game ever at Prudential went down.
-Picking up my credentials, I bumped into the replacement refs working the game. They may be scabs, but they sure are polite dudes.
-Fixated on a few notable facts while doing some last minute research: The Celtics have won nine in a row against the Nets; Ray Allen didn’t attempt a three in Sunday’s game; Rasheed Wallace attempted six, hitting one; Keyon Dooling recently had surgery on a degenerative hip condition.
-About two-plus hours prior to the tip, got the chance to watch Ray Allen warm up by himself. He may be getting up there in years, but his J is as true as ever.
-When Allen finished shooting, he popped into the Media dining room and grabbed some of our grub. No one was stupid enough to bother him.
-Marquis Daniels, the ex-Pacer and new Celtic, received a nice complement from the Nets’ Coach Frank on the sideline, as coach gave him props for his “smoothness” and “ability to play the one, two and three.”
-Rajon Rondo has a wicked tat on his back of two overlapping Rs. Subtle but stylish.
-Michael Sweetney hit about 80 percent of his shots in warmups. He also is about 80 pounds overweight.
-Sheed was in his zone before the game, rocking earphones, unkempt hair, ragged sweats and sitting all alone.
-Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and the birthday boy, Paul Pierce, all were given the night off. The Celts are trying to keep the Big Three fresh for the regular and postseason.
-In their place, Quis Daniels, Eddie House and Sheed started. Sheed and House came out gunning, combining to shoot 6 threes in the first quarter.
-Coming out of timeouts and other stoppages, Eduardo Najera always ran back to the bench, ensuring he got the seat nearest to the coaches. Guess he thinks that will help him get minutes. Long-time vet, Tony Battie, usually occupied the seat furthest from Frank and staff.
-Everyone talks about Nets’ No. 1 pick Terrence Williams’s potential. He has talent, undoubtedly, but he seems to be missing something. It’s hard to verbalize but here’s an example from the game: With second round pick Lester Hudson on him, giving Terrence a huge height advantage, Williams didn’t try attacking the Celtic. Instead he sat twenty feet from the hoop, waiting for the action to happen. Josh Boone had to get in his ear for him to take it to Hudson. Once he did, he did it well, but he shouldn’t have needed someone to tell him to take it to shorty.
-Speaking of Hudson, love him, but he’s too small and his J not sharp enough for him to be a player in the NBA. Plus he’s as old as Kendrick Perkins, a six-year vet.
-Big Baby Davis brought the ball up a few times. Whether it be off a steal, tipped pass or an odd play, Davis does an OK job of pushing the ball. He seems to enjoy it a lot, though. Everyone wants to be a point guard, I guess.
-No hate but Brian Scalabrine looks like some dude from your local Y. He has no definition to his upper body, and seems to be carrying one six-pack too many in his midsection. He can shoot a little bit, though.
-No doubt in my mind, If Courtney Lee would’ve hit that layup in the Finals, he never would have been traded. But he was. Consider it the Nets gain. He looks excellent, kind of like a mini-Plastic man, the way he attacks the hoops from multiple angles.
-As smooth as Lee is, Chris Douglas-Roberts is that awkward. All boney arms and pointy elbows, CDR has the ability to score in the NBA.
-CDR, Lee and Williams all have a lot of potential. It’ll be interesting to see how Lawrence Frank manages their minutes and rotates them.
-Nets up 60-47 going into the break.
-Coming out of the locker room, Scal hugs and daps a few Nets employees he knows from his days in Jersey. Same goes for Eddie House.
-Brook Lopez complains on every single play. He utilizes a lot of different facials expressions to get his point across. Seems like he’s trying to channel his inner Tim Duncan. He’s not there just yet.
-Watching J.R. Giddens play I’m reminded: The Celtics passed on Mario Chalmers, among others for this guy. (of course he has his best game as a Celtic tonight, using my negative brain waves as fuel.)
-CDR is 5-6 shooting. Still, I don’t believe he’s never lost a one-on-one.
-Devin Harris strained his right groin in the second and won’t return.
-Yi Jianlian suffered a right shoulder strain and is also done for the night.
-Attendance was just announced; 12, 790 is the paid attendance for tonight. That’s the same amount that the Izod gets in the regular season.
-Sheed follows up a missed oop with a nice block. Just when you question what he has left, he shows you he’s not done just yet.
-Coach Frank just referred to Rafer Alston as “Skippy.”
-Somehow there’s a minute left and it’s a close game.
-Cliff Robinson, on staff with the Nets, talks some friendly smack with ex-teammate Eddie House at a stoppage in play. House responds by hitting the game-winning shot. Robinson laughs. House looks his way. It’s all love here Newark.
-Happy Birthday Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce. Celts win by three, 91-88.
-The regular season is now one day closer to being here.