Eddie Castro’s SPORTS: Brooklyn Blues
For Nets fans, Christmas could have gone two ways. Many fans would’ve received an early Christmas gift with a Nets win the downside of that is being a fan and dealing with your team losing at home to the Boston Celtics. A loss to the Celtics is exactly what happened as Paul Pierce abused Brooklyn’s defense all afternoon long. The Nets did start off the first quarter well shooting 53% from the field, however, that came along with 6 turnovers. Midway through the second quarter, the Celtics came through with a 15-2 run and after that, they simply pulled away and left the home fans disappointed with a 93-76 loss. The officiating made it an ugly win for the Celtics and not a nice one to look at if you’re a Nets fan.
It is quite amazing how a team’s momentum can dramatically change within a month. In the month of November, the Nets had a winning record of 11-4. In the month of December, Brooklyn has lost 9 of their last 12 games and if the season ended today, they would be the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference as opposed to being the 2nd seed last month behind the Knicks. Normally when a team is struggling the way the Nets are you think it must be at the defensive end. In this case, it’s the Nets offense that has been horrendous. 76 points against a veteran team like the Celtics is not going to win you a basketball game, especially going up against the elite teams in the East. One factor of the Nets offense has been the play of Deron Williams.
Williams is so far having a very unproductive year shooting below 40% from the field where he is now on pace to have a career worst in a single season. For the time being, he has just not found the swagger and consistency he had when practically every game was a highlight reel to watch when he was a member of the Utah Jazz. He is also averaging just 8.1 assists per game, which is his lowest since his rookie campaign. The worst part about this entire scenario is that Williams has not established any sort of leadership role in Brooklyn. As a matter of fact, Williams went on record stating that coach Avery Johnson’s offensive system is the reason why he’s performance has been abysmal. As a Nets fan, that’s not what you want to hear. After all, Williams said the same thing in Utah, and that led to coach Jerry Sloan retiring in the middle of that season after 27 years.
The point is this, if you are playing in New York and you come with a big contract, you must put your talents on display every night you hit the floor. Williams has not been the point guard he was 2 years ago and his failure to perform during crunch time is having many Nets fans shaking their heads. You can only hope that this is just a super star player trying to crawl out of a shooting slump. In a recent game I attended last week, I spoke to a few fans outside the Barclays’ Center and the word around Atlantic Avenue is that Williams to many is not considered a top-5 point guard in the league anymore. There are many reasons why the Nets as a team aren’t living up to the expectations they had going for them at the start of this year. They’re just one game over 500. At 14-13, their point guard seems to be lost in the offensive system and injuries have played a factor with both Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez being out of the lineup. Now with Lopez and Wallace, aided Joe Johnson to name a few, it should not be that hard to go out and win basketball games on a consistent basis. Whatever the problem is with Williams you can only hope that this is a situation that can be fixed as the 2nd half of the season gets near.
Sports Notes: (Football) The Jets look to finish what has been yet another disappointing season on a strong note when the face the Buffalo Bills. It may very well be the last game we see Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow wear the green and white. After losing a crucial game to the Baltimore Ravens, the Giants hope an angel is on their side this Sunday as they must defeat the Eagles at home and rely on the Vikings, Bears, and Cowboys to lose out on their gamers for the G-men to snatch the last playoff spot in the NFC. (Basketball) The Nets look to get back on track as they welcome in a struggling Charlotte Bobcats team to the Barclays Center on Saturday night. The Knicks look to wrap-up their west coast trip on a high note as they battle the Sacramento Kings.
Many sources have indicated that Amar’e Stoudemire will probably make his season debut January 1st 2013 at home against the Portland Trail Blazers barring no setbacks. Stoudemire has not played all season after having knee surgery in October.