Pump Up Music: Straightener -- "Killer Tune"
The Big Picture: 0-18. It's staggering. Granted, the New Jersey Nets have missed Devin Harris for much of the season, and Yi Jianlian went out with a knee injury when they played in Charlotte, but even with bad luck, it's incredible that they haven't pulled out a single win, yet. They've had a couple close calls, losing by one to Miami, by two to Minnesota, and in the Bobcats game they hung around and the Cats needed a third quarter run that was something like 63-0 to put them away. All that's to say that with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, they're probably not the worst team in the league right now. (Hello, Timberwolves!)
Key to Victory: Yi Jianlian causes so many problems for a smaller roster like the Cats have. Without him, there's a certain missing dynamic in the Nets' lineup. Since Sean Williams has so little court sense, he can't play starter's minutes, so they're pretty much obligated to start Josh Boone, an offensive black hole if ever there was one. However, Boone has streaks where he's great on the glass and putting the ball back. He'll certainly have a rebounding edge on Boris Diaw, and if he musters up the energy to stick with Boris on the perimeter (which he's capable of doing), that'll take away a prime offensive weapon.
Secondarily, the Nets don't really have an answer for Gerald Wallace, especially since Jarvis Hayes is out. If they put Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, or Chris Douglas-Roberts on him, really any of their smallish forwards, Crash can back him down in the post. Trenton Hassell doesn't have the height, but he's a little more substantial in the frame and might be able to stand up to him better. We can only hope Kiki Vandeweghe sees fit to play Bobby Simmons big minutes in order to try to contain Wallace.
Detail That Might Interest .08% of You: Vandeweghe, all 6-8 of him, shot 48% from three in the 1986-87 season, leading all qualified shooters.