NBA: Saying It’s Early is Getting Old for the 2013 Nets

Another week, another 1-2 record.  This team isn’t playing with consistent energy, and that’s the biggest problem.  That is until the end of the week when the injury bug struck.

——————————————————————————————

Game 7: @ Sacramento

This team had 3 days to get ready for this road trip, but they showed up looking tired.  In truth it was a lack of energy, something you can’t do any time, let alone early in the season.

Down 12 at the half, a poor start to the 3rd quarter meant that an early run in the 4th was little more than window dressing.  Because that run turned into a Kings run which led to the Nets 2nd blow out loss of the year.  Sacramento led by as many as 23 before this one was over. 

5 Nets finished if double-figures, but it’s hard to win when you shoot below 38%. There was way more ball movement for the Kings, who nearly doubled up the Nets assist total. Of course the poor shooting didn’t help that number. Brooklyn did a good job on the boards, but they had 15 turnovers to the Kings 6.  It was just a bad night all around to get the road trip started.

  • Brook Lopez led the way with 16 points, 9 boards tied with Paul Pierce and Deron Williams had 7 assists.

L Nets 86 – Kings 107

———————————————————————————-

Game 8: @ Phoenix

From the opening tip, there was much better energy for the Nets.  That was until Deron Williams crumpled to the ground just minutes in.  The oft-injured point guard came down hard on his left ankle, and stayed down for some time.  He hopped off to the locker room with some help, and the Suns took advantage.  You could see why Phoenix led the league in fast-break points.  Their guards have quick hands, force turnovers and they get back in transition quick.

But unlike the last few games, the Nets responded in the 2nd quarter to close a double-digit deficit to just 4 at the half.  Then, something unprecedented happened.  A 16-0 Brooklyn run to start the 3rd quarter.  Sure, following a timeout the Suns outscored them 17-10 the rest of the way, but that’s the type of energy and smart offense this team needs out of the break.  And it started and ended with Brook Lopez, who scored 10 of those 16 points.  Lopez had a bad 1st half, but rebounded in the 2nd half, and when the Nets big man is going well, this team usually excels.

It was a poor offensive 4th quarter capped off by a late Joe Johnson jumper that sent the game going to overtime.  Big shots are nothing new for the 2nd year Net, but the biggest came in overtime.  Tied 98-98, Johnson rebounded a Channing Frye miss, and took it in for a buzzer beating lay-up.

Williams never returned to the game, but luckily the MRI on his left ankle was negative. He’s day-to-day.

  • Brook Lopez was the leading scorer once again, putting up 27 points, while Kevin Garnett was a force on the glass, pulling down 14 rebounds.  Shaun Livingston came off the bench for Williams to dish out 6 assists to go with 18 points.

W Nets 100 – Suns 98 (OT)

———————————————————-

Game 9: @ Los Angeles

If there’s such a thing as a moral victory, this Saturday night 110-103 loss to the Clippers was that for the Nets. Brooklyn was without 80% of their starting lineup for their final stop on a 3-game west coast swing.  Brook Lopez and Deron Williams sat with ankle injuries.  Paul Pierce was out with a groin issue and Kevin Garnett was given the back-end of the back-to-back off.  So Joe Johnson, after 45 minutes in an OT win Friday, was the only healthy starter with the bench against a healthy LA team.  It started out well, but in the end, the Clippers playmakers did just that, they made plays.

Up 1 at the half, the Nets came out firing in the 3rd quarter for the 2nd straight night.  A 10-0 run out of the locker room led to a Clipper timeout.  And did that timeout work.  LA answered the Nets run with a 16-0 streak of their own, and Brooklyn could never really recover. 

But they kept it close until the end, and with just 1 starter, and with different guys playing big minutes, it was an impressive showing.  Shots that were falling early didn’t fall late, and they left points at the free throw line.  Many of those were left by lone rookie Mason Plumlee, who despite the misses, was a huge reason Brooklyn remained in it as long as they did.  The back-up big man wasn’t afraid to attack Blake Griffin down low.  It took a 30 point night from Griffin, and a 26 point effort from JJ Redick to beat the Nets bench, something that needs to be remembered. 

It was another loss, and you can’t be happy with a 3-6 start, but the energy, defense and ball movement from this one needs to transfer to practice and the starters need to feed off it when they return.  Again, a loss is a loss, but it might be a turning point loss.

  • Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee tied for team high honors with 19 points, a career high for the rookie.  Reggie Evans led the way with 11 boards in his first start of the season and Joe Johnson dished out a team high 6 assists.

 L Nets 103 – Clippers 110

————————————————————————————–

Week 4 of the season starts with Portland at home on Monday before two more on the road. Charlotte on Wednesday and Minnesota on Friday. The week wraps up back home on Sunday against Detroit.

Injuries or not, this team is being paid too much money, and has too much depth to be 3-6.  It is early, but that’s not a good excuse for a team with Championship aspirations.

Advertisements

NBA: Nets Week 2 Recap

Inside the Barclays Center Before Game 1 of the 2013 Playoffs

Inside the Barclays Center Before Game 1 of the 2013 Playoffs

They entered the week 1-2, and coming off a bad loss to Orlando.  And they leave week two with another 1-2 record and a 2-4 overall season record.  This team is still trying to find themselves, specifically on the defensive end, and it showed this weekend.

Game 4: vs Utah

It was another strong start for the Nets, but this time Brooklyn never took the foot off the gas pedal, keeping the Jazz win-less on the season.  Brook Lopez was a dominant presence down low from the start, and the Nets cruised to an easy 104-88 win on Tuesday.

Kevin Garnett said practice Monday was probably the hardest since training camp, following a bad blowout loss Sunday to a young Magic team.  The team back up KG’s words with a big effort.  It was such an easy win, that none of the starters took the floor in the 4th quarter.  Rookie Center out of Duke, Mason Plumlee, made his NBA debut, showing his ever-present motor on loose balls, while scoring 5 minutes, grabbing 4 rebounds in 17 minutes.  Everyone who dressed, played, allowing for the low use of their starters and main rotation players.   Six Nets scored in double figures, while everyone who played, with the exception of Jason Terry, tallied a point.  And no player played more than 26 minutes.  Games like this will be very welcome throughout the season, especially with the age of this team.

  • For the 3rd time, Brook Lopez led the way with 27 points, as well as 7 boards, while Deron Williams dished out 8 assists.

W Jazz 88 – Nets 104

————————————————————

Game 5: @ Washington

For the 4th time in 5 games, Brooklyn jumped out to a big lead, and for the 2nd time, the Nets couldn’t close it out.  They remain win-less on the road.

Brook Lopez got off to another hot start, with 18 points in the first half.   But as is the case, the team got off to a bad start in the 3rd quarter, and Lopez only got one shot attempt off in the frame.  Defensive stops were far and few between in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, and this was the definition of a game of runs.  On the offensive end, Joe Johnson kept Brooklyn alive in the 3rd, while Kevin Garnett didn’t score until the 4th quarter, Paul Pierce was held scoreless until overtime.  3rd newcomer from Boston, Jason Terry, was big with a number of 3s in the 2nd half.

L Nets 108 – Wizards 112 (OT)

————————————————————————————————–

Game 6: vs Indiana

Well they didn’t get off to a quick start, both in the 1st and 3rd quarters, and this time around it meant another loss.  Brooklyn suffered their first loss of the season to the undefeated Pacers, giving them their first losing streak of the year.

Brook Lopez faced his toughest match-up of the season in Indiana’s 7′ 2″ center Roy Hibbert, and it showed early on the offensive end.  The Pacers entered as the best defensive team, and they showed why.  They’re very good at rebounding and help defense.  But the Nets may have exposed their one weakness, and that’s when Hibbert isn’t the on the floor.  Lopez had his best moments early in the 4th before Hibbert returned.

They were without Andrei Kirilenko, who’s back spasms popped up again.  Mason Plumlee played over Reggie Evans, and used his 15 minutes well.  He showed energy and toughness in his time on the court, showing why Brooklyn used their lone draft pick on the Duke Center.  Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingtson continue to bring energy and defense off the bench, showing they can pick up the slack and lead the “benchmob 2.0.”

It was a rare game where the Nets had to come back off a slow start, and they did a good job closing the 1st quarter deficit to just 2.  A good 2nd gave them a half-time lead, but as per usual, they got down big to start the 3rd quarter.  In the end, it was a 5 point loss.  The atmosphere of game 6 was more like a playoff game.  Both teams looked like teams that can go far.  But you can tell that the core of the Pacers know each other and are just better right now.  Brooklyn needs time to find their cohesion.  They’ve shown they can beat the defending champs, and they can give other top teams, like Indiana, fits.

  • Deron Williams and Joe Johnson tied with a team high 17 points, Williams added 10 assists for his first double-double of the season and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett tied with 8 rebounds.

—————————————————————————————————-

It’s early, and this team was 14-14 and last year, so it’s not time to panic.  They’ve shown a lot of good things, and some not so good things through 6 games.  Brooklyn is now off until Wednesday night when they start a 3 game West Coast road trip.  Games in Sacrament, Phoenix and the Clippers await as the Nets look to get their first wins on the road, and get to .500 and beyond.