New York at New Jersey, February 8, 2006
Score: New Jersey 96, New York 83
Please see previous blog entries for an explanation of the above data.
Yet another terrific game for the Nets starters. The starters' respective plus-minus ratings are in the same order as the previous game. It's just a silly coincidence, but it is something I've never seen before. Also for the second consecutive game, Cliff Robinson posted the best plus-minus among the reserves. A few entries ago, I noted that Robinson has seemingly been rotating performances with great, average, and terrible efficiency ratings. That would put him in line for a terrible performance against the Spurs tonight. Let's hope he breaks that trend.
The back of the bench performed terribly, however. Not only did Murray, Jackson, and Planinic earn terrible plus-minus ratings, but also their individual efficiency ratings indicate that none of the three contributed one lick while in the game. Antoine Wright "earned" a remarkably poor –4 efficiency rating, but contributed on the basis of his plus-minus, despite being on the floor with the three slugs at the end of the game. The Knicks outscored the Nets by ten points over the last 6:10 of the game, a time when the Nets went almost entirely with a lineup of those four and Jacque Vaughn.
As usual, let's look how the starters performed as a unit:
|Starting Five||1 (1st Quarter)||5.2||-4|
|2 (2nd Quarter)||0.9||+0|
|2 (3rd Quarter)||9.0||+8|
The Nets played around with a variety of different lineups in the second quarter, resulting in just a one-minute stint by the starting five in that frame. Over the past few games, we haven't seen the trend of playing better in the first quarter than the third that was identified earlier in the season. In this game, in fact, they reached their stride after halftime.
Anyway, during the second quarter, the Nets played around with lineups consisting of four of the starters plus either Antoine Wright, Jacque Vaughn, or Cliff Robinson (including units with multiple reserves). Those three units were +2, +6, and +3, respectively. That's a nice sign from a team that has long had trouble integrating the reserves into units with most of the starters.
Now, the continuing Jacque Vaughn watch:
|Kidd and Collins||0.0||+0|
|Kidd but not Collins||0.0||+0|
|Neither Kidd nor Collins||15.2||-8|
Could Coach Frank have given up on the Kidd-plus-Vaughn experiment for good?
Vaughn also played about five minutes with Collins and not Kidd, during which the Nets registered a combined +8.
Here's the Antoine Wright watch:
|Kidd and Wright||8.2||+11|
Wow—and I do mean WOW! I feel that the Kidd-plus-Wright duo will be a key combination for the remainder of the season and into the post-season. If Kidd and Wright can click together, that would allow Carter and Jefferson to take short breaks without risking a disruption of the offensive flow, and it would permit Jacque Vaughn to concentrate on solely being Kidd's understudy point guard. You can't get much better than +11 in eight minutes. The Spurs game tonight will be a more difficult test.
I'm going to take a break from my discussion of offensive rebounds today, and instead, bring up another point I've noticed. There's been a lot of talk about the number of assists that Nets have earned as a team over the past few games. Assists are often used as a measurement of how involved every player is in the offensive flow. There's another way we can look at this, too: The number of shots each member of the team has taken. I've noticed that recently the shot attempts recently have been divided very evenly between the "Big Four." Here's a look at the last few games:
|Oppt||Shots by Kidd||Shots by Carter||Shots by Jefferson||Shots by Krstic*||Average||Stand. Dev.|
* Krstic's column includes Robinson's total against Miami, when Krstic did not play.
If you remember, there was a period of time where Carter averaged 25 shots a game. Only once in the past five games has he approached that number, against Miami, which also happened to be the only time in the past five games that a Net attempted more than 20 shots. Also, among the "Big "four," only once did a player attempt less than 10 shots in a game: Jason Kidd, in the game against the Knicks, when he played just 28 minutes. Throw out those two outliers (which represent 10% of the data, 5% on either tail), and the standard deviation in shot attempts among the "Big Four" drops to 2.95. The New Orleans game, in particular, represents almost a perfect distribution of shots. In addition to these totals, Cliff Robinson took ten shots in that game.
Add this to the Nets' recipe for success.