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News » Shooting no hassle for veteran forward

Shooting no hassle for veteran forward

Shooting no hassle for veteran forward
Nets NOTEBOOK CHICAGO - Trenton Hassell earned his reputation (and a $27 million contract in the summer of 2004) on the strength of his defensive ability and overall toughness, as he was once valued as a poor man's Ron Artest, minus the baggage.

But here's what nobody ever points out about the Nets' sturdy wing, the guy they all call "Tennessee."

"Vince (Carter) has the most range on this team - any team, probably - but Tennessee might be the purest (shooter) in the gym from two (-point range)," Nets rookie Ryan Anderson said.

So when the players have shooting games - admittedly a dying art since Jason Kidd left - how do they turn out?

"Tennessee wins a lot of 'em," Carter said.

"Tennessee wins a lot of the shooting games," Keyon Dooling confirmed. "Believe it or not, inside the 3, he's deadly."

Hassell has appeared in only half the Nets' games this year, but he is out front in the race for best shooting percentage (.611, 11-for-18). And his 10 points against Toronto Friday night were the second most he has scored since arriving in New Jersey in the Kidd deal.

He augmented that with seven offensive rebounds and three assists. The seven offensive boards were one shy of a career high: On Jan. 15, 2007, Hassell had eight in a superb performance (15 points, 11 boards, five assists) that led Minnesota to a road win at Detroit.

Now, and only now, does Brook Lopez have a full appreciation of what it's like to be an NBA rookie. At least the part about its pitfalls.

The Nets center is in a scoring slump, averaging 8.2 points on 40 percent shooting in five games entering last night's encounter with the Bulls, and he was reduced to an eight-minute irrelevancy during the second half of the loss to the Knicks Wednesday night.

But that's not the half of it. Lopez has obviously emerged as a person of interest in opponent scouting reports, and he's facing more crowds and double-teams than before.

He's also facing more indifference from the guys with the whistles.

"I don't know what to say," Lopez said with a laugh Friday, when he was asked how the officials are treating him. "I feel like after this year, I'll get a few more calls, because you definitely take your bumps your rookie year."

The rook was 3-for-8 with a pair of turnovers against Toronto, and his summary was pithy: "There wasn't much there," he said. "And a couple just rolled out for me."

Two nights earlier, the Knicks forced the Nets to match down, and Lopez had only eight minutes of floor time in the second half. It was probably what he deserved: He turned the ball over five times in 25 minutes against the New York swarm.

"Yeah, I was just being impatient - going into my move too early before guys like Devin (Harris) went through," he said. "I was just weak with the ball, and that's not my nature. ...Obviously, it was a great wake-up call, and I'll learn from it."

Chris Douglas-Roberts, who teamed with No. 1 draft pick Derrick Rose at the University of Memphis, said he has kept a close eye on the Bulls rookie sensation through this young season, but didn't talk to the man he considers part of his "extended family." At least, not before last night's game.

"Not today," he said. "We're both real competitors. In the preparation for the game we haven't said much, but after the game it returns to normal."

Even with Stromile Swift out with a sprained right ankle, Sean Williams, who has struggled to stay in Lawrence Frank's rotation, was inactive last night, a further reflection of his declining standing on the team. ... The Nets stayed here last night and were scheduled to fly to Toronto today. The extra time here allowed Chicago product Bobby Simmons to visit his mother, who is recovering at home after being hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 15, 2008


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