Steve Nash finally pulled the trigger on Monday night. Now, the question is, is this a long walk or a decision they thought was necessary at the time?
Nets coach LaMarcus Aldridge added to the starting lineup to start the second half of the Nets’ victory over the Cavaliers, while Blake Griffin’s season-long struggles continued to lead to a road win. Down 11 in the half, the Nets overcame Cleveland at 16 after the break, with Aldridge taking the lead.
“The other coaches are using their big men to help out too much from the penetrators, so when we got that corner space, the ‘L’ was able to knock it down,” Kevin Durant said. “He feels less comfortable opening up wide for him to help. He’s taking advantage of those opportunities.”
Aldridge produced a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds in the win and a plus-14 rating, the second-highest in the Nets. Griffin, meanwhile, sat down for the entire second half. Aldridge has scored twice in eight of 11 games this month, as the Nets have won seven of those eight.
“LA is obviously making shots and giving us ground gaps,” Nash said. “I tried to make adjustments to see if we could produce some power and speed and turn the game around.”
After the game, Nash is not committed to pursuing his plans, though it has been discussed and will continue to be discussed internally, he said. But Nash noted he didn’t want to overreact, meaning Griffin may still have a little wiggle room, as the Nets have won six of their last seven games to improve to an Eastern Conference-best 13-5.
But considering how Aldridge and Griffin worked together, it makes sense to make this move forever.
Griffin was a Nets player shell last February, averaging just 5.5 points on 4.9 rebounds while shooting just 31.8 percent from the field and 16.1 percent from beyond the arc. At the beginning of the year, he was fired incorrectly. Recently, he has been hesitant, allowing teams to shadow Durant and James Harden with Griffin’s Defender. Sweet-shooting 6-foot-11 Aldridge, the third-leading scorer at 13.4 points in 21.4 minutes per game, isn’t much of an option when he’s on the floor because of his 57.7 shooting percentage.
“I’m just trying to help out there, trying to shoot shots,” Aldridge said. “Hopefully it opens the floor [Kevin] And James tries to get to the rim.
Aldridge was caught off guard by the move, but did not show up. In fact, although he was a good soldier on his new role in the reserve for the first time in his 16-year career, it was clearly an adjustment.
He recently said it was a struggle to adapt not to start, calling it a “war on the go.” Unless Griffin suddenly finds his game, Nash will find it difficult to make a change forever.