Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brooklyn Nets: Loss To Philly Is Another Failure To Seize The Moment

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN NETS - Just A Brutal Loss To Philadelphia... 
A Win Over Sixers Would Have Closed The Atlantic Division Gap To Two Games.  Meanwhile, Out In Oakland...

........the Knicks Were Getting Hammered By The Warriors.  J.R. Smith got ejected from the game after committing a Flagrant-Two.  And Carmelo Anthony was clearly hobbling about the court with a bum knee.  To open the fourth quarter, the Knicks were down by twenty.  With ten minutes to go, they were still down by twenty.  A Nets win combined with a Knicks loss would have brought Brooklyn within 1 1/2 games of first place.

Ponderous.  I'll Update After Knicks Go Final.

Knicks      63
Warriors  92

Deron Williams is playing his best ball since being acquired by the Nets.  For the moment, whatever treatment he recently received for his ailing ankles seems to be working wonders.  Aside from his collective game, there was his record setting nine first half three-pointers (eleven total) against the  Wizards, and 42-points for the game.  Deron followed that up with the 10,000th point of his NBA career on Monday.  Against the Sixers, Williams posted another double-double, scoring twenty-seven points and distributing thirteen assists.

But what a brutal loss!  Just brutal.  Monday night's 106-97 loss was the epitome of a let down.  Coming off three consecutive wins, and playing a bad, and worsening Philadelphia 76ers team, the expectation was to extend the win streak to four.  The New York Knicks, on consecutive days lost Carmelo Anthony for a few games to a sore knee, and Amare Stoudemire was lost till maybe May requiring knee surgery.  Oklahoma City cut the Nets some slack when they defeated the Knicks last Thursday.  As such, the Nets were within 2 1/2 games of the Atlantic Division leaders entering Monday's game.  A win over the Sixers would have brought the Brooks a half game closer before the Knicks took the floor against Golden State.  Back on February 22nd, the Nets could have pulled within a game of the Knicks, but instead bowed to Houston, then followed that game with a putrid 72-point performance at Barclays against Memphis while holding them to just 76-points.  That loss gave the Nets a 33-24 record.  It just seems when the Nets pull within two games of the Knicks, they break out in a rash.  The Nets record now stands at 37-27; fourth seed in the conference.  In the Atlantic Division, they are five back of the Knicks in the loss column, pending New York's outcome against the Warriors.

Someone explain to me how Philly managed six players scoring double-digits!  I guess we can start with Philly center Spencer Hawes, who dominated Brook Lopez down low.  He scored a Sixers' high twenty-four points and pulled down ten rebounds.  He even issued seven assists and blocked two shots.  That's a good night's work.  Brook Lopez finished with a much more quiet nineteen points and six boards.  In fifteen minutes, Andray Blatch scored nine points.

Try this.  Compared to Brooklyn, Philly's small forwards played like giants.  In twenty-six minutes, Gerald Wallace was a complete non factor.  He was 2/8 shooting, with four points and just one rebound.  He was the only Nets starter not to make it to the foul line.  Off the bench, Mirza Teletovic and Keith Bogans totalled forty-three minutes, and combined to add an equally inconsequential seven points and seven rebounds.  The fact Reggie Evans even scored nine points was a plus.  Makes me wonder if Kris Humphries has the spaldings to ask P.J. back into the rotation?  By comparison, Philly wingers Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner combined to score thirty-two points (sixteen each), and teamed up for seventeen rebounds.  Then for good measure, Dorell Wright scored another fifteen off the bench.

For the game, the Sixers shot 52% from the field.  Brooklyn shot 49%, which is good for them.  You can say the Nets lost due to spotty defense, or a poor offensive second quarter.  There is a weak case that the Sixers shot 53% on 8/15 from behind the arch, and the Nets shot 31%, on 6/19 shooting.  But we're talking a net gain of six points there.  Instead, Philadelphia hammered Brooklyn at the foul line - not that either team shot well.  Philly had eleven more attempts than Brooklyn.  The Sixers were 18/27 - 66% from the stripe, while the Nets trailed with 11/16 for 69% shooting.

The Nets have a quick turn-around.  They host New Orleans at Barclays Center Tuesday evening.


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