It is truly amazing what a coaching change can do for a team. The Brooklyn Nets have been the hottest team in the league the past 2 weeks. Since P.J Carlesimo took over on an interim basis, the Nets are 11-2 and have won 9 of their last 10 games. Is Carlesimo the big difference? Well for starters, the team is averaging nearly 109 points per game as opposed to just scoring around 94 points per game under coach Avery Johnson. They’re also giving up almost 8 points less under Carlesimo. From the looks of it, it seems like Carlesimo’s message and approach to the defensive end of the ball is getting thru to players like Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson to name a few. This past Monday, the Nets celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a “nailbitting” 88-85 win over their cross-town rival New York Knicks.
Deron Williams looks much healthier then he did back in November and December, but most importantly, he is learning how to be a better leader for this team and they are finding ways to get Johnson the ball. Johnson has been sizzling so far in the New Year and he put that on display by torching the Knicks, hitting big shot after big shot ending the afternoon with 27 points. The Nets not only evened the season series with New York at 2 games apiece, it also put them just 1 game behind them in the Atlantic Division at 25-16.
For some reason nowadays in sports, it just seems that when a team is doing so well, a distraction falls on their lap. For the big time sports nerds out there like myself, it is well- documented how disastrous the Lakers’ season has been so far and how unhappy Center Dwight Howard is in L.A. According to various sources the Nets are still looking to acquire Howard. Right now at this moment, it doesn’t look like they need him. Brook Lopez is having the best season of his career and is establishing himself as one of the best big men in the league, not to mention the fact that he is leading ALL NBA centers in points per game. We all saw a few years ago how the Knicks were doing so well with players like Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler. Then the Knicks took the opportunity to trade those players to the Denver Nuggets acquire Carmelo Anthony. We all remember how long it took for the team to develop chemistry amongst one-another even though it turned out to be a beneficial trade for both parties. However If Brooklyn acquires Howard I feel that’s a trade that will not work. From the various stories reported in the past when he was trying to get out of Orlando, he (Howard) can be very difficult to deal with when he is unhappy, especially when he doesn’t get the ball as much as he feels he should.And Howard is no shy about expressing how he feels. It will be a “Dwightmare” if the Nets traded Lopez just to get him. As much as I love him and know what he can bring to the Nets’ team, I feel they should continue to go with what they have now. The rumors will only distract Lopez’s game.
Theres a lot of positive buzz now than it ever has at the Barclays’ Center and The Nets look like a team that can be a very scary opponent for top teams in the Eastern Conference should they make the playoffs. There’s no question that Carlesimo will be the Nets coach for the remainder of the season, he’s earn that right if you ask me. The team will surly be tested in the coming weeks. The next road trip includes teams like the Grizzlies and Rockets. When they return from their 3-game road trip, they will have a home stand, which includes teams such as the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Lakers. We will surely find out what P.J’s team is truly made of.
Sports Notes: (Football): The Super Bowl is set!!! It will be the Baltimore Ravens Vs. The San Francisco 49ers. It will mark not only Ray Lewis’ last game, but also the first time in NFL History 2 brothers will coach against each other in the Super Bowl. Jim Harbaugh (49ers head coach) VS. John Harbaugh (Ravens head coach). (Basketball) The Brooklyn Nets hit the road as they face a tough Memphis Grizzlies team on Friday night. It should be a hostile environment when the Knicks enter the Rose Garden to play the rival Boston Celtics. All eyes will be on the match-up of Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Garnett on Thursday night.