From The Barber’s Chair

By A. P. Ri'Chard
Updated: February 17, 2005

RobinsonRobinsonNEW YORK, NY—As I sat down to write this article, Sports Center was playing in the background. A report that the New Jersey Nets had acquired Cliff Robinson caught my attention immediately. Uncle Cliffy coming to help defend the Atlantic Division Crown will fair well for the Garden State. You see, defend is what he does, and does well. Once considered by Kevin Garnett as the best defender in the league, Robinson’s inside presence will help J-Kidd ignite the fast break.

Plus, he can score. In his sixteen seasons in the NBA, Uncle Cliffy has averaged a little over 15 points a game. In forty-two games with the Golden State Warriors this season, twenty-nine as a starter, he contributed 8.5 points and 2.7 rebounds for the Warriors, so the opposing defense has to account for him on the offensive end.

“This guy is just what the Nets need, he’s athletic and he defends very well. He’s been in the league long enough to understand that he’s coming here as a role player. Boston and Philly had better look over their shoulders,” Gregory (Fan) echoed when asked about the acquisition of the 6’ 10” Power Forward out of Connecticut.

The Nets (21-29) sure could have used Uncle Cliffy on February 11th when they squared off against the Big Fundamental (Tim Duncan) and his San Antonio Spurs team (40-12).

In this game, VinSanity was ejected due to a Bruce Bowen foul; an infraction that brought back memories of the season ending injury Vince suffered last year at the hands of the Spurs Small Forward.

With 9:45 to go in the 4th, Bruce Bowen stepped under Vince as he elevated on his jumper, taking away any chance the Nets star had of landing safely. Quickly getting to his feet, Vince rushed Bowen (No punches thrown). VC received his second Technical foul in the jawing between players, and was subsequently, tossed.

“It’s a shame that Vince had to be ejected for something that could have been prevented. Vince was injured last year when Bruce went under him on a jump shot,” Lawrence Frank conveyed after the game. The Nets coach was not at all happy with the official’s decision to eject Vince, “Let the players decide the game—this is a players’ league,” he fired in frustration.

Carter had VinSani-sized the Spurs throughout the game pouring in 43 points in the Nets 101-91 lost to the team most experts picked to win this year’s NBA Championship.

“The Nets could have won if Vince hadn’t been ejected. Why didn’t they eject Bowen too…? He did the same thing last year and it ended Vince’s season. The Nets were playing good team basketball before VinSanity was dismissed for the evening,” Leo (Fan) said when approached.

My second game last week, February 13th I saw the return of a Nets (22-29) fan favorite; Kenyon Martin of the Denver Nuggets (23-28). Kenyon was greeted with love when he was announced to a crowd of over sixteen thousand.

With the Nuggets leading 31-29 after the first quarter, the Nets turned on the defense in the second and third quarter—holding the Nuggets to twelve points in the second, and sixteen in the third. Vince Carter had 23 points on 6-14 from the floor. The Nets had five players in double figures including Ron Mercer (12 points) off the bench. Jason Kidd kicked in 13 point and 8 assists in the 94-79 victory. The W (Win) leaves the Nets 3 ½ games behind Philly and Boston for the top spot in the Atlantic.

In K-Mart’s first return to Continental Airlines Arena after bolting for the Mile High City saw the Power Forward out of Cincinnati poured in 13 points, going 6-14 from the field. Every time he scored the fans cheered.

Carmelo Anthony, a member of the 2002-2003 NCAA Championship Syracuse Orangemen led the Nuggets in scoring with 18 point.

The Nets have the final two games (Minnesota and Sacramento) before the All Star break to acclimate Uncle Cliffy to the neighborhood. So be prepared to see the reemerges of the fast break—with the athletic Power Forward starting it with a block on the defensive end; then watch him run with Kidd and Carter.