Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What to Watch For: New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets December 11

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
Pre Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Knicks will look to get some revenge in round two of the Battle of the Boroughs as they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets.  The first time around, the Nets won a hard fought overtime game 96-89.  In the first meeting, it was the Knicks who were not at full strength; tonight it will be the Nets who will be playing short-handed.  Here are some things to watch tonight:

-Jason Kidd in the Lineup

In the first matchup of the season, the Knicks were without guard Jason Kidd.  Thankfully, this time they will have Kidd at their disposal and he should assume his regular role in the starting lineup. 

Without Kidd in the lineup, the Knicks offense struggled; the ball movement was stagnant and the offense was over reliant on isolations, especially with Carmelo Anthony.  With Kidd in the lineup, the ball movement is crisper and everyone is on top of their game.

Kidd also brings veteran intangibles that are irreplaceable for the Knicks.  He is 39 years old, but he has the hands of a 24 year old and can still make things happen on the defensive end of the court and still makes precision passes not every point guard is capable of. 

-Attack the Paint

The Nets this time will be the team without a key piece in their lineup, as starting center Brook Lopez will miss the game with a foot injury.  It will be the sixth straight game that Lopez misses, meaning Andray Blatche will take over at center for the Nets tonight again.

The Nets are 1-4 without Lopez in the lineup, with their only win coming against a lowly Orlando Magic squad.  The Nets will also have Reggie Evans in the starting lineup, replacing Kris Humphries to try and replace the defense lost with Lopez sitting out.

Without Lopez in the lineup, the Nets are allowing 11.5 more points per game; 102.2 without Lopez compared to 90.7 with him.  The shooting percentages also see a drastic change without Lopez in the lineup, as the Nets are allowing teams to shoot 50.7 percent from the field without him compared to 44.9 with him. 
Blatche has filled in admirably for Lopez, scoring 17.2 points per game to go along with 9.8 rebounds, but he leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end, blocking only 0.4 shots per game compared to the 2.5 Lopez provides.

-Bench Play

With the injuries the Nets have, their starting lineup will be shifted around much like the Knicks in the first meeting.  That means that their bench is weakened, meaning the Knicks have to take advantage.

Since Lopez has been out, the productivity of the Nets bench players has suffered as well.  Jerry Stackhouse has been shooting 30.4 percent from the field and C.J Watson is averaging only 1.5 assists and shooting 37.5 percent.

The Knicks bench has been coming alive of late, with Steve Novak finding his touch and Rasheed Wallace giving strong minutes as well.  J.R. Smith has struggled with his shot recently, but the effort he gives on defense and how he fills other stats still helps the Knicks.

With the Nets lineup change, the Knicks now have the superior bench and will have to take advantage as they cannot rely on Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler solely to carry the offense.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jets Handle Business Against Jaguars


Jets vs. Jaguars Post Game Recap 12/9

The New York Jets were able to pickup their second straight win over a bad team by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. The win moves the Jets to (6-7), and with the Steelers and Bengals losing the Jets playoff hopes are still alive.

All the talk heading into this weeks game was about the Jets quarterback situation, and the decision of Rex Ryan to stick with Mark Sanchez who was benched the week before for Greg McElroy. Sanchez wasn’t asked to do a whole lot in this game, as he was only 12 for 19 with 111 yards passing. Sanchez didn’t throw any interceptions against the bad Jaguars defense, but did lose a fumble in Jacksonville territory.

Tim Tebow was in uniform in the state where he became a legend, but despite talk that he may get some playing time in Jacksonville to win the crowd over many who were there just to see Tebow he didn’t get to play a single snap. Notably last weeks hero Greg McElroy who some thought may get a chance to start was instead holding a clipboard and inactive.

The key the Jets scoring on offense was the great play of their offensive line and running backs, as the ground and pound attack was in full force against the Jaguars. The Jets ran the ball 42 times for 166 yards, as Shonn Greene had 20 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Bilal Powell also ran it well getting 78 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown as well.

The lack of weapons for Sanchez was quite apparent, as their was no Santonio Holmes who is out for the season, Dustin Keller didn’t play, and Stephen Hill hurt his knee in the game slipping on the wet grass which didn’t look good for the rookie.

For the second straight week the Jets defense did what should be expected against a poor offense which allowed Sanchez to just manage the game, and hand the ball off to his running backs. The Jets were able to hold the Jaguars offense which is maybe more banged up than the Jets offense to 291 yards. The biggest play from the Jets defense came while Jacksonville was threatening in the redzone, but a delayed blitz by Garrett McIntyre hit Chad Henne’s arm leading to an interception by Bart Scott. The Jets were able to bother Henne all game sacking him three times, as Mo Wilkerson, David Harris, and Quinton Coples all got to Henne. The third down defense was also great for the second straight week holding the Jaguars to only two conversions on 16 attempts.

The Jets will look to reach the .500 mark and redeem themselves on national television on Monday night against Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans.

Nets Can't Stop Losing Streak Against Bucks


Nets vs. Bucks Post Game Recap 12/9

The Brooklyn Nets woes continued on Sunday at the Barclays Center losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 97-88, as the Nets are now on a four game losing streak, and have lost four out of five games without Brook Lopez.

The Nets star backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were outplayed by their counterparts on the Bucks in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis who combined for 50 points to just the 24 that Williams and Johnson were able to score.

The best player for the Nets in the starting lineup was by far Gerald Wallace who had a monster double-double scoring 16 points on six for 12 shooting to go along with a season-high 16 rebounds.

The starting lineup saw a shakeup at the power forward position from Avery Johnson, as Kris Humphries was moved to the bench, and Reggie Evans moved into the starting five. The move didn’t make much of a difference for the Nets however, as Humphries had four points and seven rebounds, and Evans had five points with nine rebounds, and four steals.

MarShon Brooks was finally given some minutes in this game, and was one of the main reasons for the Nets comeback attempt after being down by 29 points Brooks led the Nets off the bench scoring 14 points on four for five shooting, and was perfect at the free throw line going five for five.

The Nets will have a tough task on Tuesday trying to snap their losing streak at home against the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony in the second round of the East River Rivalry.

A Giant Day For Wilson

Well it’s that time of year again; where the New York Giants have their backs against the wall, the division is close and every game is a must win.

Today is the start for that playoff push, with wins by Dallas (7-6) and by a red hot Washington (7-6), the lead was cut down to a game. After last week’s loss to the Redskins, the Giants had to come out and win.

Before the game a lot of the players were looking up to that scoreboard to see those wins and realized they
needed to step it up. Today’s game would be a familiar foe in the New Orleans Saints, who in recent years the Giants have not fared well against. But, most of those game were in the Superdome, now they would have to come to a cold, rainy night in New Jersey along with the swirling winds of MetLife Stadium.

Even though the Saints have a losing record they are no pushovers, especially with Drew Brees and a high powered offense that ranks the highest in the NFL; this would truly be a test for the Giants.

The game started off with the Giants down early due to an Eli Manning interception ran back for a touchdown. This lead however would not last, as the ensuing kickoff would have to go into the hands of the electrifying sparkplug out of Virginia Tech David Wilson.

Wilson would catch the ball up at the three yard line and from there saw his blockers, going up the middle then taking it up the sideline for a momentum swinging 97-yard touchdown. Wilson would not be done there, as he would go on and put up an astonishing 227 return yards, which put the Giants in great field position all day.

It wouldn’t end there, as Wilson also had 13 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson is getting more opportunities due to the loss of Andre Brown two weeks ago and he made the most of it. Wilson amassed 327 total yards setting a franchise record (previously held by Dominik Hixon with 303 yards)

Outside of Wilson’s outstanding performance, the Giants Eli Manning didn’t have his best game, having a shaky first half, but made the most of the opportunities given to him. The wide receivers Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon with a little dose of tight end Martellus Bennett found holes in the Saints secondary, accounting for another four touchdowns for the Giants.

This game wasn’t just won by special teams and offense, but with the Giants defense stepping up and holding the Saints offense to only two total touchdowns and forcing four turnovers.

Those four turnovers go to my spotlight players of the game (at least Defensively), the safety tandem of Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown.

Both Brown and Rolle forced two big fumbles early in the game. They would also be a big reason why the Saints didn’t have too many big plays, by keeping their zones in check and when they were tested they stepped up; especially Brown who’d pick off Brees twice (one off a tipped pass by Rolle). Stevie Brown continues to be the guy on that defense who always makes plays when they need it and he made three big ones today. It’s not every day your able to hold the NFL’s best offense to two touchdowns and those guys were the reason.

All in all, the Giants came out and did what they were supposed to do and that was win. But, the Giants do not have room to breathe; they still have the Cowboys and Redskins creeping up on them.

Next week they travel to the Georgia Dome to take on the top ranked team in the NFC; the Atlanta Falcons. This will be a rematch of last year’s wildcard game; a game Atlanta has had marked on their calendar, so the Giants better be ready, as every game is a must win with the playoffs on the line.

Knicks Continue Strong Play at MSG

Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Denver Nuggets: 106 New York Knicks: 112
Knicks Stay Undefeated with Hard Fought Victory

In his first game back after a two game absence, Carmelo Anthony returned to the court, helping the Knicks back into the win column.  With the victory, the Knicks continued their home winning streak, winning all their home games thus far this season. 

Under Mike Woodson, the Knicks are 19-1 at home in the regular season.  Also, the Knicks continued an amazing stretch in which they have only lost back-to-back games in the regular season only once.

Anthony struggled early, but got his shot going when the Knicks needed it most; Anthony missed 12 of his first 17 shots. The fourth quarter Anthony finished strong, going five of seven and scoring nine key points as the Knicks were able to hold off a scrappy Nuggets squad. 

Anthony finished with 34 points and six rebounds, going 10 of 24 from the field and 11 of 16 from the foul line.  Anthony showed tonight how much he really means to this Knicks team and how much a team can benefit from having a superstar to close out games.

The Knicks struggled as a whole from the free throw line tonight, but thankfully it did not hurt them at the end.  Even when struggling from the line, going 36 for 27, they made more free throws than the Nuggets, who went 21 for 29.  If the Knicks had knocked down more free throws, the end of the game would not have been so close and in question. 

Ball security was at a premium for the Knicks coming into the game, as the Nuggets thrive in the open court and on fast breaks.  The Knicks were able to limit those opportunities by turning the ball over only nine times. 

When the Knicks turn the ball over 12 times or less, they are now 13-0; but when they turn it over 13 times or more they are 2-5.  The Knicks shot poorly from the field, at only 43 percent, but was able to make up for that by not turning the ball over. 

They also made up for it with their hustle on the boards.  The Nuggets came into the game as one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA with players like Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee in the middle.  Without Rasheed Wallace tonight and Marcus Camby, the Knicks were dangerously thin up front with only Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas, equaling a potentially disastrous situation on the boards. 

The Knicks weren’t having any of that though, as they were outrebounded by the Nuggets by only one, 40-39, thanks to a dominant performance by Chandler with a game high 12 and a surprising nine from J.R. Smith.

Chandler continued his spirited play Sunday night, playing with tenacity and energy knowing the Knicks really needed him with Wallace and Camby both sitting out; he responded with another double-double, his eighth of the season.  Chandler finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, changing the Nuggets shots on numerous occasions.

The Knicks were able to pull the game out night, but it should not have been this close.  The combination of poor defense (the Nuggets shot 55.6 percent from the field) and poor shooting (43.0 percent from the field for the Knicks) goes together like oil and vinegar.  Nonetheless, the Knicks scored when they needed to and got the stops that were necessary in picking up the victory tonight.

Jason Kidd was amazing for the Knicks tonight, showing that age is just a number once again.  As Alan Hahn has said plenty of times, Kidd’s body is 39 years old but his hands are still 24.  Kidd was instrumental in the Knicks coming back tonight and holding onto the lead.  He made timely baskets and led the Knicks with seven assists.  The Knicks look much better on the court when Kidd plays.

This opinion of mine has a chance to be proven correct soon, as next up for the Knicks is round two in the Battle of the Boroughs as the Knicks head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets Tuesday night and will look to exact some revenge from the loss earlier in the season the Nets handed them.  Kidd sat out the first meeting this season and I firmly believe that if Kidd had played the Knicks would have come away with the victory.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What to Watch For: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls December 8th

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Pre Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls

After winning in Charlotte Wednesday and Miami Thursday, the Knicks look to finish their road trip strong and undefeated with a victory over the Bulls tonight.  Tonight will be another tough task for the Knicks, as the Bulls have played well in winning four of their last five games and are sitting atop the Central Division.  Here are some things to watch for in the game tonight:

-Carmelo’s Status

After sitting out Thursday night’s win over the Heat, Carmelo Anthony’s status for tonight’s game is up in the air again.  Once again, he is questionable and will be a game time decision with the laceration to the middle finger on his left hand. 

While testing the injury Thursday against Miami, Anthony was able to shoot the ball well but was unable to catch the ball cleanly, using mostly his one good hand.

The Knicks proved that they can play without Anthony if players like Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith and Steve Novak step up, blowing out the Heat by 20.  Tonight may be a different story though, as the Bulls are much stronger on the defensive end than the Heat, having the top-ranked defensive efficiency in the NBA compared to 23rd for the Heat.

-Contain Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah is in the middle of a career year for the Bulls, being a driving force behind the Bulls being a top ranked rebounding team. Noah is playing a career high 39.6 minutes and making the most of them, putting up career numbers across the board with 10.8 rebounds, 13.9 points, 4.3 assists, 2,2 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.

The onus will fall upon Tyson Chandler, who is having a career year in his own right, to slow down Noah.  Chandler will need to make his presence felt on both sides of the court as he has been recently, averaging 15 points and 11.4 rebounds in his last five games.

Chandler will need help in the paint tonight though, especially is Anthony doesn’t suit up, as the Bulls employ a much bigger team than the Heat did.  Rasheed Wallace will need to use his veteran savvy and stay closer to the basket and not gravitate towards the three point line.  Look for Kurt Thomas to again start if Anthony is out and get some minutes against a team whose main focus is defense and rebounding.

-Can Felton Keep it Up?

Raymond Felton has been having a nice bounce back season, highlighted by the amazing performance he put on against Miami Thursday with Anthony absent.  If Anthony sits out again, look for Felton to be the vocal point of the offense once again. 

The Knicks have the advantage at the point guard spot with Derrick Rose being out combined with Felton’s red hot play.  Felton is averaging 22.3 points and 7.7 assists per game, hitting 11 of 24 three points in the Knicks last three games; all Knicks wins.

Throw in Jason Kidd and the Knicks have a major advantage in the backcourt over the Bulls combination of Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson.  The Knicks should be able to control pace and tempo, a must in a game their star player might sit out and against a team that is as dominant in one area as the Bulls are.

Nets Can't Get Revenge on Warriors


Nets vs. Warriors Post Game Recap 12/7

Final Score: Warriors 109 Nets 102

For the second time this season the Brooklyn Nets were unable to beat the Golden State Warriors, as the Nets couldn’t get revenge on the Warriors at home after losing to them on the West Coast earlier in the season.

Like on the West Coast Stephen Curry killed the Nets outplaying Deron Williams by scoring 28 points on 10 for 19 shooting, as in two games Curry has scored 53 points against the Nets, as Brooklyn will be happy to not have to play him again this season.

Deron Williams followed up his season-high 33 point game against the Thunder by filling out a pretty nice stat sheet scoring 23 points on eight for 22 shooting with eight assists, and five rebounds. The problem for Williams like most of the season was his shot, as Williams was only two for 10 from three-point land.

Joe Johnson had his best game of the season in the loss on Friday, as Johnson had a season-high 32 points on 12 for 23 shooting to go along with five rebounds, but despite the great game from Johnson it wasn’t enough to get the win.

Ex-Knick David Lee had a monster game posting a monster double-double with 30 points on 14 for 22 shooting, and grabbed 15 rebounds, as the former double-double machine for the Knicks usually plays well in New York.

The Nets also got a monster double-double from one of their big men, as Andray Blatche continued his great play filling in for Lopez with 22 points on eight for 13 shooting with 15 rebounds.

With Blatche in the starting lineup the bench scored suffered on Friday, as the Nets bench was outscored by Jarrett Jack alone who torched the Nets for 15 points on seven for 12 shooting. Jack Lead the Warriors bench which outscored the Nets bench 32 to 13.

The Nets will look to snap their losing streak on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks, and their star backcourt of Brandon Jennings, and Monta Ellis.

Friday, December 7, 2012

No Melo, No Problem

Thursday, December 6th, 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: New York Knicks: 112 Miami Heat: 92
No Melo, No Problem as Knicks Blow out Heat

No Melo, no problem for the Knicks tonight in Miami as they blew out the Heat 112-92.  It is the second time this season the Knicks beat the Heat by 20 points.  The win by the Knicks gives the Heat their first home loss this season and biggest loss at Miami since Lebron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in South Beach; leaving the Knicks as the last team in the NBA without a home loss.

Just like the first time around, the Knicks beat the Heat by putting on a show from the three point line, knocking down 18 of their 44 attempts.  This is the second time they made 18+ three pointers in a game, with the other time being the first defeat of the Heat; this time around they did it without the help of Carmelo Anthony, who was sitting out with a laceration on his left middle finger that required five stitches.

In his place, Raymond Felton picked up the slack as the go-to scorer.  Felton played by far his best game of the season given the circumstances.  Knowing Anthony would sit, Felton took it upon himself to carry the Knicks and responded with a monster game.

Felton did everything tonight, running the pick-and-roll to perfection with Tyson Chandler and even taking over some of Anthony’s isolation sets; on one occasion Felton cooked Udonis Haslem with a crossover reminiscent of Allen Iverson, taking it to the rack for a layup. 

Felton attacked the basket with fearless abandon and precision tonight, always making the right move to counter whatever the Heat were doing on offense.  Felton actually shot the ball better from deep, going six of 10 from the three point line and four of 10 inside of it.  He finished the game with a season high 27 points in addition to seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.  The Knicks needed him to step up tonight in Anthony’s absence and he did that and more.

Chandler continued his great play tonight, finishing around the basket and controlling the paint on both sides of the court.  Chandler’s stats are not as eye popping as some of his recent performances with 13 points and nine rebounds tonight, but his presence alone made a difference.  The Heat shooting 42.1 percent from the field shows just how tough the defense was tonight, led by Chandler in the middle.

The Knicks defense was on point tonight and was the driving force behind the building of the big lead.  The perimeter rotations were crisp and came out strong in the second half, limiting the Heat to only one basket the first six minutes of the third quarter.  Without that effort on the defensive end, the Knicks would have gotten hammered tonight.  They allowed only 39 points in the second half and 12 in the fourth quarter.

With Anthony injured, the Knicks were in need of people stepping up and that is exactly what they got; under the bright lights of a nationally televised game the whole team shined in picking up the slack left by Anthony’s absence. 

The bench played outstanding, as they outscored the Heat’s bench 57-19.  Steve Novak led the way on the bench, with 18 points.  Rasheed Wallace chipped in 12 of his own and the same good defensive effort he has been giving all season to go along with seven rebounds.  J.R. Smith struggled with his shot again, going four of 15, but he made timely baskets and made contributions in other parts of the game, grabbing six rebounds, handing out four assists and getting one steal. 

Pablo Prigioni did his thing as the backup point guard, chipping in seven points of his own and grabbing a career high six rebounds.  James White was forced into duty because of injuries and responded as well as Mike Woodson could have hoped for, not missing a shot en route to scoring seven points. 

The Knicks came into the game with supreme focus and an understanding of what they had to do to get the victory without their star player.  Not only were they on point with the defense, they put in a concerted effort to protect the ball, turning the ball over a season-low tying seven times. 

Next up for the Knicks is a visit to Chicago to end a three game road trip Saturday night, the third game in a stretch of four games in five nights for the Knicks. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What to Watch For: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat December 6th

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Pre Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat

After a thrilling victory Wednesday night in Charlotte, the Knicks are right back at it with the second game of a back-to-back in Miami against Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and the Heat.  The Heat, like the Knicks, are undefeated at home this season making for a great matchup between two of the top teams currently in the NBA.  Hopefully the matchup everyone wants to see in Carmelo Anthony vs. Lebron James comes to fruition.  Here are some things to watch for tonight:

-Injuries Galore

The Knicks come into the game with the biggest question mark of all; will Carmelo Anthony suit up? Anthony suffered a laceration on his left middle finger Wednesday night diving into the bench and received six stitches on the wound.  If Anthony is unable to go the Knicks better bring their A game on defense because points will be hard to come by without their leading man.

The Heat are not without injuries, as their lineup will have drastic changes if Mario Chalmers (torn finger tendon) and Norris Cole (strained groin) both do not suit up.  Lebron James will most likely handle point guard duties full time if neither guard can suit up, as both are game time decisions.

The Heat may also be without Udonis Haslem (hip pointer), leaving an already lacking Heat team dangerously thin up front.

Depending on which players actually make it to game time able to play, the schemes and game plans could change drastically.  Whichever coach can adjust and adapt to the conditions best will put their team in the better position to come out on top.

-Make the Most of Advantages

The Knicks best lineups thus far this season have been their small-ball lineups in which they employ more players on the court to stretch the floor.  The Heat generally play smaller, but with the injuries to their point guards they could get even smaller upfront if James has to run the offense himself. 

As the Knicks have succeeded with the smaller lineups, it may be beneficial tonight to go big at some point.  Tyson Chandler has been dominating in recent games and should continue his hot streak tonight as he will be matched up with Chris Bosh most of the night.  Rasheed Wallace should find his way to the paint more often as well and resist from floating out to the three point line.  The Heat do not have the size to contend with both Chandler and Wallace if they are on the court together.

-Pick and Roll Game

If Anthony is unable to suit up, the pick-and-roll game becomes that much more important for the Knicks.  Raymond Felton has been playing masterfully since his debacle against the Nets, not turning the ball over in two consecutive games since his time with the Bobcats. 

Felton and Chandler have been on fire recently, running the pick-and-roll to perfection.  Felton remains under control, knocking down jumpers or taking it to the rim himself or throwing lobs to Chandler, who always finishes, evident of his 72.1 percent shooting on the season.

The pick-and-roll game is also run well by Pablo Prigioni, who is adapting well to the NBA game after playing overseas his whole career previously.  Prigioni works it will with Wallace and Chris Copeland, who we could see a lot of on the court tonight if Anthony doesn’t suit up and with Marcus Camby dealing with plantar fasciitis.

-Come with Intensity

Tonight is a nationally televised game so you know the Heat and their fans will come into the game fired up and ready to go; it is imperative the Knicks match that intensity and fire right from the start.

The Heat have undoubtedly had this game circled on their calendars since the Knicks gave them a whooping on opening night at the Garden.  They will come out ready to play and with revenge on their minds to show the world that they are still the beasts of the east and what happened opening night was a fluke.

Anthony would be huge, as he has exploded in the starts of games, but if he is unable to go someone will need to pick up the slack.  I would look for J.R. Smith to pick up the slack if Anthony sits.  He has struggled with his shot recently, even with knocking down the game winner Wednesday night, but has a never back down mentality and always gives his all. 

Tonight will be a great game for basketball fans even with no team affiliation in the game.  The Knicks and Heat both have something to prove tonight and will put on a show for the audience. 

Avery Johnson Named Coach of The Month


The Brooklyn Nets great start to their season has seen some early recognition from the NBA in the form of the Nets head coach Avery Johnson winning the Eastern Conference Coach of the month award for November.

Avery Johnson has led the Brooklyn Nets to an 11-4 record in November that is the best start in November for the Nets in franchise history. Johnson has gotten the Nets to become one of the better defensive teams in the league, which goes a long way to why they have 11 wins, and are the second best team in the league in points allowed only giving up 90.4 per game.

“I've used (zone defense) in the past as a tool, and maybe sometime in the future we may use it," Johnson said. "We like our full-court press a lot more when we go to that instead of our zone half-court defense. Everything's always on the table, but we take pride in being a good man-to-man defensive team.”

The Nets record is quite impressive considering their start backcourt in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have yet to find their shots consistently, and when they do the Nets maybe a real force in the Eastern Conference.

“Coach Johnson has been a great leader and motivator," Joe Johnson said. "Every day he comes in here with a great attitude and he definitely keeps us on our toes. He's a great 'players' coach' that you can go to anytime and sit down and talk to and he gives great advice.”

There is still a long ways to go in the season, as even though the Nets are playing well right now coach Johnson and his team all have much bigger expectations than just one good month of basketball.