With three minutes left in the third quarter of Monday night's game vs. the Kings, Keyon Dooling stole the ball from Kevin Martin near halfcourt and was immediately fouled by Martin. Dooling went to the line for two shots on the clear path violation. After he missed the first, one in a series of missed free throws by the Nets, a cascade of boo's rained down on the Nets' guard. Dooling made a motion with his hands as if to say, "bring it on" while mimicking the crowd's boos. After making the second and then quickly hitting a three, Dooling turned to the crowd as he ran down the court and sarcastically mouthed the word "boo!"
Marv Albert and Mike Fratello noted the episode and even replayed it on YES.
After the game, Dooling explained his feelings to the media.
"We don't like the boo's at home. It doesn't make us play better," Dooling said. "If they come and cheer us, that will be more helpful. We want to get it right. We don't want to lose, especially on our home court. We want to give them a good show. We want to play hard, we want to play with intensity we want to do all the things that make them happy. But in this league, sometimes you have rough starts, and cheering would help us get through it."
He was asked, Is it that bad? Dooling responded: "I played for the Clippers, and it was never like this," he said, a testament to just how bad he thinks things are.
Carter was more diplomatic. He described as "unfortunate" the loud booing and even taunting of Josh Boone after the free throw-challenged Boone threw up an air ball at the foul stripe late in the fourth.
The Nets' captain acknowledged in a post-game interview with YES Network's Michelle Beadle that the fans' reaction is affecting the team: "We just try to stick together. Hey, sometimes when it's not going our way, we know we're going to get booed. We have to stick together because if we continue to play better, they're going to continue to boo. But if we stick together, still have some fun, you know we can have some great results."
It's the second consecutive game where fans have booed the team--lustily--following a first half collapse. And just like the Hawks game last week, the team turned it around late in the game.
On Tuesday, Dooling didn't back down but clarified some of his remarks.
"I don't think I insulted them or anything," he said. "Look, I think there's no 'us' without the fans. And they wouldn't be fans without us. So we need each other, you know what I'm saying? I think maybe we need a better relationship -- maybe reach out to them more. I'm willing to do it.
"Because homecourt advantage can be so beneficial to us, because we're good on the road. And having that homecourt advantage would just help us so much - especially with a young team."
Dooling says boos hurt particularly with young players.
"A lot of guys can't necessarily handle the boos," he said. "I can. I kind of feed off it. But a lot of guys go in the other direction. I embrace it, but not everyone can."
And how many guys on this particular team go in that other direction? Dave D'Alessandro asked.
"On this team?" he asked. "Probably five or six of our guys. Don't forget, we're talking about a young team here."