Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop
BROOKLYN NETS: Rift between Coach Hollins and Brook Lopez widening; team's downward spiral continues; and don't look now, but here comes Jason Kidd!
Joe Johnson's attempt at a preemptive kick in the ass has seemingly resulted in a major case of team indifference.
How else do you describe it?
New coach; new players; I get it.
Not really; not to this degree.
The graffiti is spray painted on the brick wall. Three games on the west coast proved how vulnerable the plodding Nets are to small line-ups.
Three games; three losses. They played well at times, but not well enough, and clearly not long enough. They played in spurts; the Brooklyn Spurts.
In Phoenix, the Nets were up by as many as 19 points, and took a 63-49 lead into halftime. Then their shooting soured; they only shot 27.5% in the 2nd half.
But in truth, the game changed on a dime when the Suns imposed their style in the second half. The Nets still led 84-78 after three quarters, but the defense took the rest of the night off as the Nets were outscored 34-20 in the 4th quarter en route to a 112-104 defeat.
Joe Johnson manned-up with 21 points, and Kevin Garnett posted a double/double with 12 points and 10 boards. Mirza Telotovic and Brook Lopez chipped in with 16 points each, but all Lopez could manage was 3 rebounds.
Making a Point:
- Eric Bledsoe - 18 points, 3 assists. Isaiah Thomas - 21 points and 2 assists off the bench.
- Deron Williams - 14 points and 5 assists in 34 minutes.
Brooklyn's lack of interior defense was all too clear, allowing Golden State 50 points in the paint, and getting outpaced on fast-break points by a 30-9 margin.
They also got out-rebounded, and trailed Golden State 30-19 in team assists.
The Nets shot a sub-par 43.8% from the floor, and suffered through 3/16 from beyond the arch.
They ultimately fell 107-99, and failed to score 100-points for only the 2nd time this season (until....)
All 5 Warriors starters scored in double digits.
For this game, Deron Williams' standard of measure came against Steph Curry.
Making a Point:
- Stephen Curry - 17 points and 5 assists in 32 minutes.
- Deron Williams - 18 points and 5 assists in 33 minutes.
- Jarrett Jack scored a team high 23 points off the Nets bench.
The city of Portland provided yet another let down. Poor shooting that began in Phoenix, and worsened in Oakland , bottomed out against the Blazers.
The Nets only scored 15 first quarter points, and shot an abysmal 39.3% for the game. And if you can imagine it, the Nets 3/16 three-point experience against Golden State worsened, as the Nets connected on just one of 19 attempts from beyond the arch in Portland.
They were also out-rebounded, and handed out less team assists yet again. Adding insult to injury, Portland played minus two main cogs; LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.
Making a Point:
Damien Lillard - 28 points and 10 assists in 38 minutes.
Deron Williams - 19 points and 6 assists in 37 minutes.
That doesn't even begin to tell the story. When Deron Williams wasn't getting defensively switched off Lillard, the Portland point guard was lighting up Williams like a roman candle. More, Steve Blake stepped in with another 7 assists off the bench.
You would have thought the next best place for the Nets should have been home.
But in their first home game back at Barclays Center on Monday, they encountered a quiet, apathetic crowd. The Nets responded in kind with a lethargic effort against the LeBron-less, Wade'less, and generally undermanned Miami Heat.
On this night, all Flatbush could manage was 83 points. Their best effort came in the 2nd quarter when they scraped together 22 points, but were held to just 19 points in the final quarter en route to a 95-83 defeat to the Heat.
How's this for a downward trend:
- 104 points versus Phoenix
- 99 points versus Golden State
- 87 points versus Portland
- 83 points versus Miami
And how's this for Making a Point:
- Mario Chalmers - 22 points and 5 assists in 34 minutes.
- Deron Williams - 14 points and 7 assists in 35 minutes.
Throughout this time, the relationship between Coach Hollins and Brook Lopez continued to deteriorate even further.
....All since Joe Johnson tried administering the team a swift kick in the ass, remember?
On Wednesday evening, Jason Kidd and his Milwaukee Bucks come to Flatbush. This will be the first meeting between clubs since Jason Kidd was jettisoned out of Barclays for attempting a coup d'etat.
This will also be the first time these clubs meet since Mikhail Prokhorov and Kidd served and volleyed through the media.
I don't know that a Brooklyn crowd will let bygones be bygones, and give Jason Kidd a well deserved ovation for being the best Nets player of all-time. Obviously, New Jersey isn't across the continent, but it wasn't Brooklyn Jason Kidd led to back-to-back Finals appearances. There's the rub. How much of Kidd's playing history gets lost on Wednesday night's crowd remains to be seen.
In Empire State fashion, however, he just might get the Benedict Arnold treatment one might argue he deserves.