I don’t know if you have to give the Nets credit for going with Brook Lopez or if they more or less had their hand forced, but the kid is having a great rookie season and is playing a big part in what has been a successful season so far for the Nets, all things considered. Lopez is 4th in the league in blocks and leads all rookies, but the thing about him is that he isn’t out there swinging his arms trying to get blocks. He gets them because he stays grounded, not jumping up and fouling guys. He’s a tough guy to get on a pump fake, especially for a rookie and he’s remarkably quick to get up when he does block a shot. He is doing well on both ends of the court, picking up double-doubles and running the floor better than I thought he would.
Luckily for the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani is playing what could possibly be the most consistent and impressive basketball to date. Bargs has at least 15 points in 15 straight games and is averaging over 20 points during that stretch. He will have to provide a good mix of shooting and attacking the basket to keep Lopez on his toes. It would be nice to see Bargs show a rookie how it’s done…much like how vets have shown him how it was done in the past.
So let’s see…this season against the Raptors, Vince has been hot, then cold, then hot, so I’m thinking maybe tonight we get him cold? I’m hoping so, because it seems Vince quits the moping and actually shows up for games against the Raptors. Why do I have a feeling the Jake “All 6″ Voskuhl will be begging for an opportunity to get into the game to um…”take care of business?”
With the Raptors upcoming schedule, this is one of those games that they really need to have. It would keep the much needed wins coming in, but it would also provide them with a bit of confidence, something that has been sorely lacking at various parts of the season.
3 in the Key
1. Control Vince. The Raptors can’t let him go off again if they want to win.
2. Take advantage of the Nets tendency to take ill-advised shots. They aren’t afraid to let the rock fly, so the Raptors will need to push them away from the basket and get on some rebounds.
3. Gradually increase Jose’s minutes so that his leg doesn’t get too worn out. We have seen very clear evidence that the Raptors need him if they are to have any success.