Isiah can see Nets in Finals
Monday, April 16, 2007
BY DAVID WALDSTEIN
TORONTO -- After watching the Nets dismiss his team Friday night at the Meadowlands, Isiah Thomas thinks the Nets could go very far in the postseason. He even suggested they could win the Eastern Conference title.
"It would not surprise me at all if they made a Finals run," the Knicks coach said before last night's game against the Raptors.
Thomas said that with Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson clicking, the Nets are extremely dangerous, even though last year they had those three players -- plus Nenad Krstic -- and couldn't get past the second round.
"Those three guys, when they put their hat on to come and get it, chances are they're going to get it."
As of yesterday Toronto was preparing to play either the Nets or Wizards in the first round, while the Nets could play the Bulls, Raptors or Cavaliers. Obviously everyone wants to play the depleted Wizards, and Thomas said the Nets could give Toronto or Chicago a real test.
"I think Jersey's going to give anybody a tough time," he said.
Some Toronto writers asked Thomas if the Raptors, with Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and T.J. Ford are set to establish themselves in the future as the cream of the Atlantic Division.
"Them and Jersey," he said. "As long as Jersey has Kidd, Carter and Jefferson, no matter what their record is, they're the class of our division. I think Toronto, with what they've done and where they're going, they're definitely on the right track. But I still think Jersey, when they've got it all going, they're still the team to beat in our division."
The Knicks are 0-3 against the Nets this season and finish their series against them tonight in the final game at Madison Square Garden.
Stephon Marbury (turf toe) dressed in case he would be needed in an emergency but did not play. Before the game Thomas lauded Marbury, saying he is having the best season of his career.
"I don't think he's had a better year that I can remember him playing," he said. "Statistically it may not look as good as it did when (he averaged) 20 (points) and eight (assists). But from a pure basketball standpoint, I think this is probably the best basketball that I've seen him play in this league."
After a brutal first month in which he butted heads with Thomas, was benched a couple of times and averaged only 10.1 points and 4.5 assists, Marbury played very well the rest of the way.
"Let's just say he had some problems with me in November," the coach said.
On a day when Major League Baseball celebrated the legacy of Jackie Robinson, Isiah Thomas took a moment to note that Robinson's legacy is felt in all sports, and in all areas of society.
"He more than anyone is kind of responsible for where we are today," he said.
Wow.. as much as I would like it to happen. I'm a realist and...wow...
thanks for the props Isiah but karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos.
The East really don't have a dominant team. Anyone could make the finals in the east if their game is on. Detroit has taken a step back some. The gap is close. Who knows? That's why we watch the games. But good luck to your Nets. I wish Kidd acquire some hardware come June.
well i feel complimented by this but at the same time this rings a little false.
zeke is someone who is good at rallying the troops around him, even if it's only the local troops and not his own team, but he's also someone with a nasty edge who is willing to throw someone to the curb that he doesn't like. he's shown this many times through his career, so this latest statement rings a bit dubiously.
the fact is that toronto is clearly the class of our division and that we don't need zeke's encouragement to beat them. we can do it on our own if all goes well.
if not, then there was never any reason to disrespect toronto.