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News » FEELING THE HURT


FEELING THE HURT


FEELING THE HURTCeltics 86

Nets 76

Nets coach Lawrence Frank discussed his battered, ailing and hurting Nets and got philosophical: "As Confucius said, sometimes it's better to laugh than to cry."

But last night, another philosophy came into play: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Along with pains, strains and swine flu.

The vastly undermanned Nets , who played without four starters including Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was diagnosed earlier in the day with swine flu, and Courtney Lee, who strained his left groin the previous night, were faced with the mighty and ornery Celtics. Boston was still stinging from its first loss of the season Friday. The Nets , with eight available players, were still hurting from playing with half a roster, reduced by the absurd plague of misfortune.

No one could have expected more. The Nets led after three quarters in their best defensive game of the season. They were running on fumes, but keeping pace. Ultimately, they couldn't overcome their own mistakes and 24 turnovers proved their undoing as the Celtics extended the Nets' worst NBA start ever to 0-7 with an 86-76 victory at the Meadowlands.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 23 points while Rafer Alston scored 20 - but committed six of the turnovers. Josh Boone (8 points, 12 rebounds), in his first start of the campaign, battled Kevin Garnett (3-of-13, 9 points, 13 rebounds) all game and kept the megastar's numbers within reason.

Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce scored 16 points each to lead Boston.

The Nets' last hope came in the closing minutes when they were down by six, 82-76, but on three straight possessions, they missed a combined four shots and their defense the other way went unrewarded. They Nets did not score over the final 2:55.

There is some hope on the horizon. Douglas-Roberts could be back as early as Wednesday, and Lee said he will be.

"I'm playing Wednesday," Lee said. "I'm a young guy. I heal like a mule. All I need is rest."

After the commendable first half that left them up a point, the Nets stretched their lead to 45-41 early in the third quarter. Next came the obligatory cold spell, peppered with sloppy, often silly, turnovers. The Celtics took advantage and pieced together a 14-2 run. The Nets went 1-of-6 with four turnovers in the span that left them in a 55-47 ditch.

So the Nets dug a little deeper and over the final 5:29, strung together a 14-4 streak, seven points by Lopez, to hold a 6-59 lead entering the fourth. But Boston came back quickly and familiar face Brian Scalabrine (5 points, one assist) was the culprit for the Nets , scoring the initial five points of the quarter.

There were major surprises in the first half. The Nets didn't lose anybody else to illness, injury or legal warrants. They began the half with eight players, they used eight players and they finished the half with eight players. But they had the Nets' Kid Dancers in reserve, just in case.

And they finished with a lead, 40-39, somehow overcoming an awful collection of 15 turnovers. But the Celtics, looking at times disinterested, committed nine turnovers of their own and shot just .412. Boone played Garnett as well as anyone could possibly hope. Garnett was 1-of-7 with two points by halftime,

And that was a considerable feat as the Nets were down four starters. Lee, who claimed he could have played, was held out as a precaution, joining fellow starters Douglas-Roberts, Devin Harris (groin) and Yi Jianlian (knee) in the very crowded medical ward.

And despite having just eight able bodies, Frank was able to keep a sense of humor.

"So far, no swine," Frank said. "Haven't strained my groin. Haven't messed up my MCL. And my hamstring is okay, too."

Give it time.

"The rotation is easy. You go from a full team and [ticking] eveyone off to now everyone's happy - everyone's playing, you only got eight," Frank explained. "We're the great eight."

*

Melky Cabrera was at courtside. Fitting for the Nets that it was a Yankee who was injured.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 10, 2009

 

 
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