Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Andray Blatche Regaining His Confidence

Photo via Noah K. Murray - USA TODAY Sports

On December 27, prior to a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Brooklyn, Jason Kidd announced that forward Andray Blatche was to miss the team’s upcoming 4-game road trip, due to “personal reasons”. Kidd also announced that Blatche would not travel with the team, sparking speculation that Nets’ brass was displeased with the center’s conditioning, and he was staying back to work on his conditioning.

Since Blatche returned on January 4, the Nets have gone 7-1, with wins over the Miami Heat and the cross-town rival New York Knicks. Blatche has been a huge factor in those wins, averaging 12.9 points per game on 52% shooting and 6.8 rebounds per game. On Monday against the aforementioned Knicks, Blatche posted his second straight double-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and even hitting a three pointer in garbage time. After the game, Blatche addressed his recent surge, according to the New York Post’s Fred Kerber:
“Being aggressive,” the veteran forward said.. “Just being aggressive and confident, taking the shot when it presents itself. Other than that, I can’t say much. It’s just all about being aggressive.”
Jason Kidd summed up Blatche’s play in one word - “confidence”. Kidd expanded on that, saying:
“His teammates, the coaches, we all believe in him,” Kidd said. “When he plays well, we’re a different team. He’s been playing extremely well for us, and also playing the five. It’s gotten him around the basket where he’s been great with the ball and also finishing.”
With Brook Lopez out for the year, Blatche will be as big of a key to the Nets success as he’s been in his two years in Brooklyn. While expecting 21 and 12 every game isn’t exactly realistic, if Blatche can continue putting up at least 12 and 7, which he’s certainly capable of, The Nets should be in good shape going forward.

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