Sir Charles On Iverson's Future
Three Missed Opportunities For Nets
As the New Jersey Nets prepare to play the Sacramento Kings on Friday night -- probably their last and best chance (because they play the Lakers next) to avoid tying the NBA record of 17 consecutive losses to start a season -- it's worthwhile to take a look back at this Noxious November and point out three games that got away.
Opening night: Timberwolves 95, Nets 93
The Nets were ahead by as many as 19 points and were still up by 16 with less than seven minutes to play, but Minnesota closed the game with a 24-6 run, including a putback by Damien Wilkins at the buzzer. New Jersey made just one field goal, committed five turnovers and surrendered seven offensive rebounds to Minnesota during those last few minutes. The 1-14 Timberwolves haven't won since, and nine of their past 10 losses have been by at least 10 points.
Nov. 14: Heat 81, Nets 80
Quentin Richardson banked in a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to tie the game, Brook Lopez made it 80-78 on a tip-in with 4.1 seconds left and Dwyane Wade hit a turnaround 3-pointer off an inbounds play, the ball passing through the net with one-tenth of a second left to win it. Frank could be second-guessed for not putting a second defender on Wade to force someone else to take the last shot, but Trenton Hassell had held Wade without a field goal since the 1:22 mark of the second quarter, so he got the single-coverage assignment and didn't swipe at the ball when Wade bobbled it before sinking the dagger.
Nov. 18: Bucks 99, Nets 85
Rookie Terrence Williams was on fire, hitting his final seven shots of the first half as New Jersey went to the locker room with a 48-41 lead. But rather than stick with the hot hand, Frank told the rest of the team at halftime to feed off the example being set by Williams. Bad idea. Milwaukee opened the second half with a 15-2 run before Frank put Williams back in with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter, and the rookie shot 0-for-6 the rest of the way.
Schedule: Friday, Nov. 27
Shaq Is Back
Shaq is expected to play for the first time after missing six games with a shoulder injnury.
Friday Game Notes
• Dwyane Wade has already scored 40-plus points against the Wizards twice this season. The last player to score at least 40 points three straight times against an opponent in a single season was Allen Iverson of the 76ers against the Bucks in 2004-05. Iverson had 40 points on Dec. 12, 2004, then 54 points just six days later. Then he dropped 48 on March 1, 2005.
• Against the Heat on Nov. 10, Gilbert Arenas had 12 turnovers. It was a single-game career high for Arenas and the most by any player in a game this season. The NBA record for most turnovers in a game is 14. John Drew of the Hawks did it against the Nets on March 1, 1978. Jason Kidd of the Suns had as many turnovers against the Knicks on Nov. 17, 2000.
• The Thunder have yet to beat the Bucks since moving to Oklahoma City. Milwaukee swept both meetings last season, winning by 11 points in Oklahoma City and 17 in Milwaukee.
• Friday's Raptors-Celtics game at TD Garden will mark the 41st time in the past 42 years that Boston hosts a game on the day after Thanksgiving. The only exception was in 1998, when the NBA season didn't start until the following February because of a lockout.
• Like the Nets, the Timberwolves are chasing a different kind of misery. They have lost 14 straight after a win in their season opener, the second-most consecutive losses after a first-game win in NBA history. The only team with a worse mark are the 2003-04 Magic, who finished the season a league-worst 21-61. (On the bright side, Orlando won the 2004 draft lottery and landed Dwight Howard.)