2000-2001: How weakened New Jersey beat Toronto at home

The 2000-2001 season was broadcasted by one popular Russian network, which had these two guys as commentators covering NBA regular season games.

And there was this particular game, where the New Jersey Nets were playing home against the visiting Toronto Raptors.

I do not remember everything clearly, yet what I do remember is that the Nets did not have a complete starting line-up that night, while Raptors were in full force with Vince Carter, Antonio Davis, Alvin Williams and the rest ready to tear the weakened Nets apart.

In the first quarter, Nets somehow were trailing 5-6 points, while in the second quarter they were trailing way over 10 points already.

Yet what I remember vividly is that thanks to two Nets’ players, the team did not suffer a humiliating defeat that night. Those players were veterans – Sherman Douglas and Aaron Williams.

Douglas played only 59 games that season, starting just 7, averaging 5.7 ppg and 2.4 apg. Williams on the other hand had his best NBA season that year, appearing in all 82 games (25 started) for the Nets, averaging a career best 10.2 ppg and 7.1 rpg.

That night against the Raptors, both Williams and Douglas were coming off the bench to let the starting line-up (which I sadly do not remember at all) get some rest, and they were the ones holding the team together – Douglas dishing out assists and Williams working on the boards and scoring occasional two points from the paint.

Since Nets’ best rebounder Jamie Feick (averaged 9.3 rpg in just 6 games that year) was on the injury list, Aaron Williams had to work twice as much, switching from center to power forward positions and back.

Douglas, despite his somewhat weak performance in the whole season, was active that night, hitting at least 2 three pointers, as I can recall, and handing out some 7-8 assists, pumping up the crowd, that was already cheering up for the home team.

In the ending 4th quarter, both teams were going point for point, with Raptors leading by one point by the end of the regulation.

Someone from the Nets threw a desperate three, missed it…and Aaron Williams was there to grab the offensive board and tip the ball back with a dunk.  The crowd went nuts at that point.

The Raptors had a few seconds to throw a three of their own, only to miss it, and leave the crowd and me as well, with good memories of a weakened home team beating the “armed to the teeth” Raptors, with their bench players.

By Tim Tal


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