Primiarily because of injuries, Raps head coach Sam Mitchell has not been able to form a starting five he can send out there night after night. That is no longer the case.
Following an all-hands-on-deck morning shootaround yesterday at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Mitchell said he has pretty much settled on a starting five of Chris Bosh, Rasho Nesterovic, Jorge Garbajosa, T.J. Ford and Anthony Parker that he expects to stay with for the rest of the season, health permitting.
Nesterovic's presence is the only one there that might raise a few eyebrows, but not after you look at what he has done over the past month.
In the 14 games since a Dec. 10th loss in Portland, Nesterovic is averaging 29.8 minutes, 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
"Rasho is playing so well right now it would be tough to take him out," Mitchell said. "Not only is he giving us more offensively than we expected, but then there's also his rebounding presence on the court. The kid knows how to play.
"He's really playing well and I think he's having fun. I joke with him all the time, 'When was the last time you had eight, nine, 10 shots a game.' He just laughs."
Mitchell said were he going to change things up he would have done so last Wednesday against Phoenix. The Suns have a small starting five by NBA standards but anything they give up in size they more than make up for in speed.
Mitchell stuck with Nesterovic that night, though.
"If I didn't (sit him down) against Phoenix , it would be tough to do it against anybody especially in the East," Mitchell said.
Asked to stay with a more fleet-footed Amare Stoudemire, Nesterovic gave it his all.
"To Rasho's credit, when we ask him to do something that is tough for him, he busts his hump and tries to do it," he said.
NO KIDDING AROUND
Nets point guard Jason Kidd has apparently overcome his recent back problems, but there is now another distraction he'll have to deal with.
On Monday in New Jersey, the 12-year veteran lodged a domestic violence complaint against his wife of ten years Joumana, accusing her of mistreating their three children, and filed for divorce yesterday.