I am also a linux newbie (for about 2 years now!) but a windows oldie (not by choice!).
Anyway, check to make sure that your NIC card drivers are loading properly on the 2k box.
Easiest way is via Control Panel/Admin tools/Computer Management/Device Manager. Use view menu to show hidden devices. Non Plug & Play devices/Netbios over TCPIP. Is startup type = system. Is Device Usage = .. enabled?
Also check to see if AFD Networking Support is running (I am running on an XP box, so this might not be required.
It used to be in NT that you could en/dis-able bindings for services and devices like Netbios in the TCPIP Properties/bindings tab/Adapter. Now I don't know where you can check that in 2k (something I miss!).
Also check that the following services are running using Control Panel/AdminTools/Computer Mangement/Services:
Workstation, Computer Browser, Remote Procedure Call (RPC), Net Logon?
Also look at your Event Viewer/System log (in the same computer management/system tools/event viewer/system), that might provide more info on what is failing and where.
That all I can think of to look at. Can't recall off the top of my head what might be wrong and how to fix, although I do think updating the drivers sometimes helped and sometimes did not. Also, is your adapter set to Full Duplex (Status/Properties/General/Configure)?