Amidst rumors that Devean George has blocked the possible trade of Nets PG Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks, the Nets played their final game of the first half of the season last night in Toronto against the Raptors.
It became very clear that this would be a different team without Kidd handling the ball. Point guard Marcus Williams made his first start as the new floor general of the sinking Nets.
Many wondered if Williams would be able to distribute the ball enough and keep Carter and Jefferson happy. Or would he have trouble at the point controlling the game and handling the pressure?
Well, he did get off to a rocky start. Williams had four turnovers to just five assists. He was 5-8 from the field and 1-3 from behind the arc with 11 points and two rebounds and assists in 31 minutes. It wasn't the start that the Nets were looking for, but I still think that this kid has what it takes to be a solid point guard.
As for the rest of the game, it was the same old story. The Nets lacked defense again, giving up more than 100 points.
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 27 points and nine rebounds, and Jose Calderon added 22 points and 12 assists in 41 minutes. Other contributors Jamario Moon and Andrea Bargnani added 15 and 14 points respectively.
The Raptors shot over 50 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the free throw line. Toronto also got 25 points off of the bench, led by Jason Kapono with eight.
The Nets, on the other hand, shot only 48 percent from the field and had just three offensive rebounds. Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson led the Nets with 15 points each, and Carter had a team-high seven assists and three rebounds.
They had an amazing 42 points off of the bench, led by veteran Darrell Armstong and Stromile Swift with 12 points each. Armstrong also added six assists and four steals. Sean Williams had a team-high seven rebounds and eight points off of the bench.
The New Jersey Nets go into the All-Star break at 23-30, with seven games under .500. They are tied with the 76ers for third in the Atlantic Division and if the season ended today they would be the seventh seed in the playoffs, playing the Pistons.
That is really saying something about the Eastern Conference.