Humphries Hangs His Hat, But Effort Isn't Enough
January 8th, 2011
NEWARK, N.J.—The Milwaukee Bucks waltzed into the Prudential Center and danced all over the hapless New Jersey Nets, 115-92. The Bucks were led by former Net Chris Douglas-Roberts (24 points, four rebounds) and Ersan Ilyasova (22 points, 13 rebounds). Kris Humphries (22 points, 8-for-12 from the floor, eight rebounds) played decent basketball in spite of the evident surrounding turmoil.
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Humphries' Hangs His Hat, Effort Not Enough
Kris Humphries continues to bring his lunchpail to work. The veteran forward scored 20-plus points for the second time in three games, pulling down eight rebounds and pushing his season averages to 8.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG while shooting .549 overall.
But his yeoman’s effort couldn’t electrify the Nets on Saturday, not the way a similar outing sparked a win on Wednesday. The Nets, trailing the Bucks by 10 at halftime, were blown out during a 33-20 third quarter and fell, 115-92, at the Prudential Center. Humphries found no solace in his season-high scoring total.
“To me, it’s irrelevant if you lose the game,” Humphries said. “We’re out here to win. I’ve played on a team that lost a ton of games (last year), and if you look at a team like that, no one benefits: guys end up out of the NBA, guys end up not getting paid what they should get paid. Winning is the cure all.”
With Devin Harris (right quad contusion) sidelined for the Nets, but Brandon Jennings (broken foot) and Andrew Bogut (viral infection) out for Milwaukee, both teams were operating with depleted rosters. Center Brook Lopez scored the Nets’ first basket on a pick-and-pop with backup point guard Jordan Farmar, but proved a non-factor, totaling only five points and one rebound – picked up with four minutes remaining in the second quarter – despite the Bucks defending him with 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward Ersan Ilyasova.
Coach Avery Johnson said that part of the problem rests with the offensive execution, because Lopez is dependent on other players getting him the ball. But Lopez acknowledged that he might not be “making himself available,” a possibility on a night Farmar recorded 10 assists (along with 20 points).
“It was just a matter of focus, really,” Lopez said. “We’ve forgotten numerous plays in the beginning of the last two games. We’ve forgotten plays, forgotten coverages. When we lose our focus, we’ve seen what happens.”
Keyon and Chris Come Back
Former Nets Keyon Dooling and Chris Douglas-Roberts made their first trip back to visit the Nets since joining the Bucks this summer, Dooling as a free agent and Douglas-Roberts via trade. Each expressed fond feelings for the area, and their time with the team, though they would have wished for more on-court success.
“It was great for me,” Douglas-Roberts said. “I learned a lot. I don’t want anyone to think I have any hard feelings against NJ. I still have great fans here and I love the area. I miss all the Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-11’s everywhere, ha. I actually really enjoyed my time here.”
Dooling has embraced his survivor’s role once again, making a fifth stop in his NBA career, and filling in as the starting point guard while Brandon Jennings recovers from foot surgery. He continues to eloquently synopsize the game, offering inspiring nuggets for his younger teammates to draw upon in dark moments.
“We’ve been doing a lot of talking back and forth and we’ve been waiting for (Chris) to have that breakout game,” Dooling said, pregame. “The thing about CD-R is, he’s so competitive that he really wants it. He really, really wants it. So I was glad he had that breakout game coming in against his former team. We’re hoping he can do the same thing tonight, that’ll be a nice, liberating feel for him.”
Douglas-Roberts, indeed, built on Friday’s 30-point performance against the Heat, shredding the Nets’ defense for a game-high 24 points (9-14 FGs). He also swiped six passes and helped break open the game with 11 points in the third quarter.
“Knowing that Bogut was out, we really emphasized energy,” Douglas-Roberts said. “We knew how important this game was – we need to win these types of games. I really wanted to increase the lead. I didn’t want to give the Nets any hope at all. I’m not hiding it at all, I really wanted to beat these guys like we beat them."